ABOUT THIS PROJECT
What happens when the “museum object” is a set of instructions?
Directions to make something, do something, or only imagine something?
In the Fall of 2020, undergraduate students enrolled in “The Museum Object,” a course offered through Florida State University’s Department of Art History, studied the proliferation of instructions-based and Conceptual art from the 1960s to the present and considered the challenges these works pose to museum practice, then and now. Over the course of the semester, students executed a series of instructions-based and Conceptual artworks of their selection, examining the history, philosophy, practice, and implications of acquiring, researching, displaying (and therefore making and doing) instructions-based and Conceptual art in (and sometimes outside of) museums and galleries.
Working with Professors Tenley Bick (Assistant Professor of Art History) and Meredith Lynn (Assistant Curator, Museum of Fine Arts) and graduate student Sahara Lyon, students used a wide range of methods for engaging with works by artists such as Yoko Ono, John Baldessari, and Ana Mendieta, among others. Through art historical research, dutiful execution of instructions, and contemporary reinterpretation of the artists’ original concepts, students grappled with ideas foundational to the study of art history and museum practice: How do we ascribe value and meaning to a work of art? What makes a thing or idea art? What is the relationship between the creator of an artwork and the viewer? How does art perpetuate or disrupt systems of inequality?
This online exhibition, How to Resist Expectations: Instructions-Based Art in Practice, is the product of that research. All photos, videos, and text in the exhibition were produced through the collaboration of the students in the course. This curatorial project represents months of work and dedication, all performed under the umbrella of a global pandemic. While the online format of the exhibition reflects the unique challenges of the fall months of 2020, it also generates accessibility and a sense of community that transcends this particular moment.
Skylar Alderson is an undergraduate Art History major with a minor in Museum Studies at Florida State University. She is from Orlando, Florida, and enjoys reading and being in nature. Her favorite instructions-based work is Ai Weiwei's CCTV Spray (2012).
Emmett Bleske is an art history major at Florida State University. He is from Key West, Florida and likes painting and reading in his spare time. His favorite instructions-based work is Untitled (Perfect Lovers) (1991) by Félix González-Torres.
Ellie Cissel is an Art History major at Florida State University. She is from Jacksonville, Florida, and enjoys good books and family time. Her favorite instructions-based work is Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #118 (2011).
Julie Cotton is an Anthropology major with minors in Geography and Museum Studies. She is from Bradenton, Florida and loves painting outdoors. Her favorite instructions-based work is Félix González-Torres' Untitled (Perfect Lovers) (1991).
Alice Fabela is a History major and Museum Studies and Art History double-minor at Florida State University, focusing on Latin American history pre-colonialism. She is originally from Houston, Texas and loves writing, painting, and watching films. Currently, she serves as President of the Museum Society of Florida State University. Her favorite instructions-based work is Mierle Laderman-Ukeles’ Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Outside (1973).
Emily Freed is a senior majoring in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She is originally from Bradenton, FL, and is currently the History Committee Chairwoman for the Museum Society at Florida State University. Her favorite instructions-based work is Félix González-Torres' Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) (1991).
Brenna Gilliam is a Classical Civilization and Italian Studies major at Florida State University, focusing on museum work and linguistics. She is from Orlando, Florida and loves art history. Her favorite instructions-based work is Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1964).
Nathalie Jarquin is a History major at Florida State University with a minor in Museum Studies. She is from Miami, Florida, and loves the beach, music, and watercolor art. Her favorite instructions-based work is Félix González-Torres' Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) (1991).
Ray Ketterman is a Religion major at Florida State University, focusing on religious intersections within the constructs of various cultures. He hails from Shinnston, West Virginia, and truly admires the great outdoors. Ray’s favorite installation piece is Repent (2012) by Ragnar Kjartansson.
Jeffrey Norman is a senior Art major at Florida State University. For this exhibition, he used his own art practice to explore the power that comes from destroying objects we love. You can see him erase his own drawing in a recreation of Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953).
Michaela Osborne is a History major with a double minor in Museum Studies and Humanities. She is originally from Valdosta, Georgia, and loves playing music. She is currently a member of the Marching Chiefs with Florida State University. Her favorite instructions-based work is Félix González-Torres' Untitled (Perfect Lovers) (1991).
Erin Walls is an Anthropology major and Museum Studies minor at Florida State University, focusing on archaeology. She is from Vero Beach and loves to sew. Her favorite instructions-based work is Edgar Heap of Birds' Dead Indian Stories (2015).
Professors Bick and Lynn execute Allan Kaprow's Trading Dirt (1983) in class.