Basquiat: PAMM Interactive Gallery “This is your museum.”

PAMM Teaching Artist Alex Zastera talks about his favorite visitor contribution page in composition notebooks located in PAMM’s interactive gallery related to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s exhibition.

CREATING A CONVERSATION:
“When I was flipping through the notebooks something that I found interesting is that this space and this artist allowed a connection for people to interact,” explained Zastera. “Kind of like Andy Warhol and Basquiat interacted where one started a piece and then one finished.”

Take for example one museum visitor who wrote, “I don’t believe”.

A few lines down on the same page another visitor adds, “I do”.

“And then another writes, ‘I do too’,” pointed out Zastera, “it transcends time because these are different visitor experiences that are then coming together with an interaction but you don’t necessarily have to be in a museum together and I thought that was very cool.”

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks is the first major exhibition focused on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks, filled with poetry fragments, wordplay, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history.

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ENGAGEMENT:
For the first time at PAMM, an interactive gallery was created to coincide with this dynamic exhibition.

“His stuff, there is a crude edge to it and that’s kind what people love about it and it allows you to explore and say it doesn’t have to exactly look like one thing or another,” stated Zastera about why he thought so many visitors were inspired to contribute to PAMM’s Basquiat Interactive Gallery, “I think another part of it is the anonymous nature, it is kind of like being online, your name is not attached to it but it is also something you are not having expectations for so I think that is very interesting.”

At the interactive gallery visitors were able to listen to a selection of music that inspired Basquiat, watch a documentary on his life and make their mark by contributing to PAMM’s collaborative notebook project.
PAMM staff will now be working to turn the pages into a digital notebook that will be shared on PAMM’s social networks.

“I think engagement is the most important job that a museum has. It is not just about putting something up it is about how can we help connect people to pieces? How can we help facilitate their story in the narratives of what we are showing?” stated Zastera, “I think it is a way to create a stronger experience that you are taking back with you, that you are going to remember, that you get to show and share with your friends once they these have been digitized and put on our website.”

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“TALK TO US”: 

“This is your museum,” explained Zastera, “come talk to us. How can we make these experiences better?”

You can send us your thoughts to: comments@pamm.org

If you were at the interactive gallery and snapped a picture of your contribution you can share your work on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #MyUnknownNotebook.

Thank you to all who have contributed!

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