In the Loop

Exhibition | Please Do Not Touch: Prelude to an Art History Survey

  • Date & Time
    • Friday, April 29, 2022 10:00am — through
      Wednesday, June 15, 2022 5:00pm
  • Cost
    • Free
  • Description

    Enter any museum or art gallery around the world and chances are you will not have to walk far before you encounter a sign requesting that you do not touch the objects on display. The ubiquity of these signs is a testament to the strength of the compulsion to act against them. Every day museum attendants and proximity alarms startle both the surreptitiously reaching and the absent-mindedly entranced who extend a hand too close to museum objects.

    What is behind this desire to touch? What do we want to touch? What are we touching when we do? Something old? Something special? Something beautiful? Something off limits? Something set apart from the mundane?

    In this exhibition, you will be given the opportunity to touch the objects on display: a fragment of Greco-Roman sculpture, a plant fossil, and a rock I found outside this building just before the exhibition opened. All that is requested is that you think about both what and how you are feeling as you do. Each object is accompanied by a short audio track that will provide you with information and prompt you to engage with certain questions. All three objects are made of inanimate material shaped by some measure of contact with the animate, including, however minutely, by your touch today. Some of the items may have a similar tactility in your hand, but may inspire different sensations mentally and/or emotionally within you as you hold them. Take the time to note and try to account for these differences.

    This exhibition is subtitled “Prelude to an Art History Survey” because it is designed to generate in a gallery space the same questions and realizations I try to present to my students on the first day of any art history class I teach. There are multiple human perspectives wrapped up in the materiality of every art object. These objects also exist in multiple contexts simultaneously. At the very least, they are both in the present and of the context in which they were created. Through which perspective, from which context, you decide to approach each object will drastically affect how you see, how you feel, what you see, and what you feel in the stone of the objects presented here.

    The concrete materiality of this stone serves as a nexus point that anchors you to the multiplicity of perspectives and contexts that can be explored through these objects, whether you are aware of them or not. It is my contention at least, that your life may be improved the more aspects of this multiplicity you are aware of, even if it is simply through a small moment of euphoric revelry sparked by a new sense of connectedness. I would like to provide the opportunity for such contact, realization, and connection in this space; so, by all means, feel free to touch.

    I would like to thank Helena Chen and María Paula Varela for their invaluable help in the formation and installation of this exhibition. I would also like to thank University Galleries Director Jesús Fuenmayor for his support and for allowing me this opportunity.

    ~ Mark Hodge

  • Venue
    Gary R. Libby Focus Gallery
    1370 Inner Road
    (352) 273-3000
    Gary R. Libby Focus Gallery Website