Backstage at the Walker : An Archeology of the Permanent Collection

Dorit Cypis

1996, 20:00 minutes, B&W


Documentation of commissioned project for youth K-12, at the Walker Art Center.

Artist Dorit Cypis has transformed the Art Lab into the wings and backstage area of a theater filled with bits and pieces representing artworks and their labels as they are installed in the Walker's Permanent Collection Galleries. With various levels of complexity, visitors can choose props, images, projections, backdrops, sounds, text and lighting to animate unique relationships between themselves, works of art and the historical events that engendered their creation. To name just a few, there are backdrops from paintings by Polke and Warhol, hand puppets from Hartley and Saar, body shields from Wesselman and Marc, shadow puppets from Davis and Roszak, seating from Judd and Warhol, projections of historical characters mentioned in the permanent collection labels. In effect, this installation allows visitors to create short theatrical productions that animate their relationships to 20th century artworks they see on their Gallery Tour.

Designed primarily for the thousands of school children that visit the Walker, "Backstage at the Walker" provides a learning context based on interactivity, inviting the identities of the viewer to participate in the meaning of the artwork. This project, part of the Walker Art Center's "New Definitions/New Audiences" initiative, is made possible by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund.

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