Fred Wilson : Mining the Museum

Maryland Historical Society, 201 West Monument Street, Baltimore.
3 avril 1992-28 février 1993.

Curators : Lisa Corrin, Assistant Director, Contemporary Museum, and Jennifer Goldsborough, Maryland Historical Society.

 » In a unique partnership, the Contemporary Museum and the Maryland Historical Society sponsored a two-month residency for installation artist Fred Wilson who was known at the time for creating mock museums consisting of reproductions of ethnographical artifacts. In this, his first museum project, Wilson’s working method at the Historical Society was, in effect, to « mine » the institution’s archives, permanent collection, and storage areas, and to present an exhibition of his own devising. In keeping with the Historical Society’s style of exhibition design, Wilson created an installation of the museum’s collection objects that recontextualized over 100 historical artifacts. Through striking juxtapositions, which included slave shackles encased with fine silver, a Ku Klux Klan hood presented in a baby carriage, and Victorian chairs placed around a whipping post, Wilson’s provocative installation raised urgent questions about the museum’s historical representation of African-American and Native-American experiences. Unearthing repressed meanings and untold narratives from Maryland’s visual past, Mining the Museum revealed how the documenting of history and the curating of artifacts could be understood as powerful acts of selection, exclusion, and interpretation, each requiring renewed self-awareness. »
(Source : The Contemporary Museum)