For me, 2007 was an amazing year at the IMA. Here are just a few of my favorite moments from the last 12 months:
*Filming in Paris and Rome for Roman Art from the Louvre webisodes.
*Interviewing video artist Sam Easterson for the exhibition Nature Holds My Camera.
*The backyard barbeque on the lawn of the IMA for the opening of Emily Kennerk: Suburban Nation.
*The launch of the IMA’s new Web site.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m not one for picking absolute favorites. However, this year, it’s an easy decision. Far and away, my favorite memory of 2007 was the opening weekend of the exhibition Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything is Separated By Water. I can’t remember a happier time at work.
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and I on opening night.
Here’s a recap:
Friday, February 23, 2007
I got a phone call a few minutes after getting into my office. It was the Curator of Contemporary Art, Lisa Freiman, asking if I wanted a sneak peek of the show. I immediately ran upstairs to the exhibition and was greeted by both Lisa and the artist, Magda. After working for more than 4 months on the marketing for the exhibition, it was such a joy to finally see it installed. The sneak peek was a treat made even sweeter due to the fact that I got to share it with Magda. Lisa was very proud and giddy and Magda was joyous, but also obviously anxious about the opening gala that would take place that evening. My first impression of the show – I felt like I had stepped into the artist’s mind. It was emotionally stirring to be able to see the visual expression of another person’s passion. The exhibition was remarkable. I was overwhelmed by the experience and the joy spilled out into the rest of the workday. Friday flew by as I helped set up for the evening’s gala.
I can’t explain it, but I felt like I was floating that entire night. Maybe it was the exhaustion of working so hard to get the show ready. Maybe it was the remains of the joy that I still felt from that morning, but everything during that time feels like it was a dream. Dinner was exceptional though I can’t tell you what we ate. Just after dessert, Magda gave a beautiful and heartfelt speech. Then, the crowd was released upstairs to preview the exhibition and join the afterparty.
With over 500 guests, several bars and a large band, Pulliam Great Hall was packed. For me, the most exciting part of the afterparty was the diversity of the guests. Guests from 27 to 77 filled the dance floor dancing to the beats of the Spam Allstars. Never before had I attended an event at the IMA that had such a young, hip vibe. It was incredibly fun and fulfilling to see so many people enjoying the night and the exhibition.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
On Saturday afternoon, Magda gave a performance piece in the same space that had held the revelers the night before. Regalos was a special work that the artist had created as a gesture of appreciation for the support she had received while working on the exhibition. Wearing a long dress that had dozens of tiny bags tied to it, Magda invited visitors to untie the bags. To the delight of the audience, each bag contained a gift of a tiny handmade piece by the artist. The performance was extremely dramatic and filled with Magda’s gratitude, affection and sacrifice.
After the performance, the IMA’s Contemporary Art Society held a reception for Magda. I attended with my copy of the exhibition catalogue tucked under my arm. It was my last chance to see Magda before she left, and I desperately wanted her to sign my book. I waited in line as her family, friends and fans congratulated her. Finally, I had my chance. As I handed the book to her, I gushed about how much I loved working on the exhibition and how honored I was to have worked with her. She smiled warmly at me as she scribbled into the cover. I hugged her as she handed the catalogue back to me, and then left her to greet the next person in line. As I walked away, I cracked the book open and saw what she had been “scribbling.” It was a drawing of water spraying up into the air with a note written under it, “Meg- You are a fountain. With Love and Gratitude, Magda”. The drawing and the words meant so much to me. She couldn’t have given me a more thoughtful gift. It was a perfect end to one of the most remarkable weeks of my life.
So do you have any favorite memories of the IMA from 2007? Share your favorite IMA moment of 2007 by responding to my story with one of your own.
Filed under: Exhibitions