Art’scool Docent Stories: Kate Soudant
Why I Love Being a Docent
Last week, a group from Gloria J. Parks Community Center came for a tour. In my group of girls from grades three through five, only three had been to the Albright-Knox before, so most of them were not sure what to expect.
Their first adventure into the new Robert Therrien exhibition had them awed; a few were even a bit apprehensive. Was there a giant in there? Would that table fall on your head? When it was apparent it was safe (no to both fears), we continued exploring and found about six different possible reasons why there was one chair leaning against the wall. After exploring (and exercising) their imaginations, we went to look at some other works in the exhibition.
A darker work that looks like a huge cartoon cloud with spigots coming out was next and we found a number of different possible meanings for that work as well. Then, one young girl said, “it looks like a snowman on its side with drains to let the water drip out when it melts.” What? A snowman! Why, yes, I could see it now, and that sparked a light in my own head because Robert Therrien is known for using similar object shapes—including a snowman—in many different forms of media.
This was the link to take us into the room where two snowmen (one a sculpture and the other a wall hanging) are on view, along with two other objects. Suddenly, another young girl squealed in delight. “Look!,” she said, pointing to the two other works, “the snowman’s nose [referring to an oil can sculpture] and his hat [referring to a tilted hat on a stand].” She was absolutely right. And I had never noticed the connection before.
I thank this group for giving me a new perspective on art and the opportunity to see new possibilities in what is being shown. I love it when art opens our eyes (and minds).
IMAGE: Robert Therrien’s No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006.© 2013 Robert Therrien/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York