*Secretly Wishes I Was Peggy Guggenheim*
By: Raquel Shalam
There are few things I love more than cataloging information; except perhaps my mom, chocolate and contemporary art. In the spirit of combining great things (minus the chocolate and my mother), I began writing a handmade textbook cataloging contemporary artists whose work I’ve seen and admired in museums and exhibitions all around the world.
For me, there’s something magical in connecting artists to artistic movements. It’s like my neurons are sending exclamation points to one another through paint covered synapses as I view a Rothko in the Venice Guggenheim and remember another one I saw in the MOCA in California and the one in Cooper’s office in Mad Men. My inner nerd geeks out as I see the dichotomous nature of a contemporary piece made in the 60’s by Italian artist Alighiero Boetti framed alongside Renaissance images of Jesus from the 14th century at the Pitti Palace in Florence. I mean how can I not jump up and down as I enter my ticket into the 57th Biennale featuring thousands of artists from over 51 countries all in one city!
Each time I visit an exhibition I am amazed at the information that can be learned. As I take it all in, I fear it will flee like all good things. My brain can only hold so much. So, I frantically photograph each plaque, not leaving a single one unread and believing my 128GB can hold onto biographies of artists and the descriptions of their works. But to no avail. The images sit on my phone and not in my working brain, so what better than to color coordinate (using 9 different markers) my very own textbook. In an effort to expand my (currently limited) knowledge of post war artwork, I intend to add each artist or piece as I see them. Each artist has their own designated page, with biographical information, style, movements they were part of, pieces I’ve already seen, where I saw them and what I thought about them. Some of my favorites are Mark Tobey (who actually inspired Jackson Pollock!) and Maurizio Nannucci who is famous for neon installations.
I hope to be a museum curator once I finally decide to adult. I want to be the person who decides what to display and how to best give over the information so viewers can make the most of their visit. Working at the Whitney Museum and/or the Cooper Hewitt is #curatorGOALS. Fuck yeah to the thrill of post war art!