Curating the West
What event (gallery show, museum exhibit, etc.) in the next few months are you looking forward to, and why?
I’m probably the most excited about two upcoming exhibitions. The first is an exhibition showcasing women artists in our permanent collection, to piggyback with the many celebrations of women’s achievements and the anniversary of suffrage happening this year and in 2020. The second is an exhibition of the photography of New York artist Victoria Sambunaris, who works with a large-format camera and produced large photographs. Vicky’s photographs feel like you are really standing right in the place she took the photo, except with colors and details that you have never noticed before. Our exhibition will focus on her Utah and Western images, which
I think our audiences will love.
What are you reading?
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It’s a fascinating book about how good leaders work with teams, and how to own all outcomes of your decisions—good and bad. It’s been enlightening. I just finished reading Tara Westover’s memoir Educated, which I absolutely could not put down. Her clear writing style was smooth and compelling, and it was incredible to see how hard work and education transformed her life.
Interesting exhibit, gallery opening or work of art you’ve seen recently.
I recently went to an exhibition called Time + Materials at the Rio Gallery in downtown Salt Lake City. I was really struck with the originality of local artist Jacqui Biggs Larsen’s work— large collages using covers of old beautiful books, aging photographs, and the discarded elements of everyday life.
I stared at one piece, titled the Almanack of Hope and Despair, for at least 20 minutes. It was exquisite and captivating! Highly recommended.
What are you researching at the moment?
I’m in early stages of an exhibition on artists working with paper or plastic as their primary media. I’ve been really drawn to artists using materials that are easily recycled (like paper) or are using recycled materials (like plastic) to help us think about our impact upon the environment. I hope it will become an exhibition in a few years.
What is your dream exhibit to curate? Or see someone else curate?
This keeps changing, as dream exhibitions happen! Currently, we have a willow installation by Patrick Dougherty at the museum—and that was absolutely a dream idea that finally came to fruition. I love walking through our main gallery and getting lost in a willow wonderland—it’s magical. But, recently I have fallen in love again with Georgia O’keeffe’s work and I would really enjoy doing an exhibition of our Georgia O’keeffe and other women of the West.
Curator Janalee Emmer discusses artwork in a gallery in the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Brigham Young University Museum of Art Provo, UT (801) 422-5323 moa.byu.edu