Testing Thresholds: An Interview with Jan Tichy
An interview with Jan Tichy for Sixty Inches From Center
“What they put on view says a lot about a museum, but what’s in storage tells you even more…” - Fred Wilson at The Sackler Conference for Art Education, 2010
When anyone brings up the idea of an artist occupying a museum and mining the collection my thoughts almost instantly go to artist Fred Wilson. His 1992 project Mining the Museum at the Maryland Historical Society is often cited as a catalyst for the turn of a critical eye to cultural institutions and how they relate ethically to their staff, their collections and the public they seek to educate or connect with. Now, twenty years later, the invitation to artists from institutions has far from expired. Some, like Wilson, have used it as a chance to offer a form of institutional critique. Others, like Maria Pinto, use it as a chance to place their work within completely new and unexpected contexts. Somewhere between those two intentions lies the work of Jan Tichy. His recent collection-mining exhibition 1979:1 – 2012:21: Jan Tichy Works with the MoCP Collection calls into question the true meaning of accessibility for a museum collection while at the same time using his own work to push the boundaries of authorship. Blurring the lines between his work and that of contemporary masters, Tichy has reimagined the MoCP’s collection from the position of artist, curator and viewer simultaneously. Just before the exhibition closed this past December, Tichy took some time to look back on the year he has spent becoming familiar with the collection and how the exhibition came together in the end.
Read the interview with Jan Tichy...
Installation view of East Gallery. Jan Tichy, Installation no. 15 (Siskind), 2012. 3-channel HD video installation, 11min. (Image courtesy of the artist.)
Larry Williams, Rural Saturday Night, 1973. Gelatin silver print (Left, 1979:1). Zacharias Abubeker, Obelisk, 2011. Screenprint. (Right, 2012:21). Image courtesy of the artist.
Installation view of West Gallery, collection pairings. (Image courtesy of the artist.)