Starry Night

Behind the scenes

On visiting the current Site Santa Fe exhibition More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness I had a moment that reminded me of home during exhibition installs.


Here is a work by Vik Muniz, Verso (Starry Night) (2008). At first glance the three works exhibited – Verso (American Gothic), Verso (The Smokers) and Verso (Starry Night) – appeared a familiar site for an exhibition designer: an historic painting resting on foam cushions leant against the wall with the back facing out to protect the canvas from risk and provide all the needed info for registration and conservation check and task lists.

It's the closer glance that is the clincher – among the revealed labels is the collection, artist's name and title. I've never seen Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night for real and I'm still a long way from it, but the obsessive detail of the Muniz work is so truthful to how artworks look from behind that I was convinced. This is what an art gallery looks like during an install.

Real or not, for me it was a welcome reminder of the tasks worked through to bring something you believe in to your community. We all look forward to our building meeting the new codes so sights like these will be familiar again; it's a sight that says you are on your way to providing for the public once more.