Sometimes in an artists life, you reach a point where you just take matters into your own hands. And sometimes, the result literally fits into your hands. Case in point: artist Judith Klausner, creator of what is quite possibly the world’s smallest art museum.
Nestled in an 16 inch-wide space between two establishments in Somerville’s Union Square, the Mµseum, or the Micro Museum, showcases (very) small-scale works by New England artists. Judith, a past winner of a Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship, received a grant from the Awesome Foundation to support the project. Here, Judith undertakes our Cur8or eight questions.
Being the curator of the Micro Museum is like being a) dandelion spores, b) oxygen, c) a very quiet psychedelic rock song. I have to go with dandelion spores, for no deeper reason than that I love dandelion puffs! I can come up with a deeper rational though, give me a sec… Being the curator of the smallest art museum in the world is like being dandelion spores because if I do my job right, little pieces of creative thought spread outwards from our little institution and take root in the larger community.
What is the best museum experience you’ve ever had? That’s a hard question to answer, there are so many kinds of positive museum experiences. There are the museum exhibits where I’ve most connected with the work exhibited (I’d have to list The Museum of Art and Design‘s 2010 exhibit “Dead or Alive” amongst those); there are the museums that make you feel the most welcome (growing up with the Boston Children’s Museum – who I was recently lucky enough to do a piece with – I have always felt it to be a wonderfully welcoming environment); there are the museums where you feel like a real, effective effort has been made to help visitors understand and connect with art (I think the High Museum of Art in Atlanta does some of the best gallery-integrated education I’ve ever seen.)
The worst museum experience? I think it would be impolitic of me to answer this question with anything but vague hand-waving. I will say that the job of a docent is a difficult balance, but that I have had the experience of being followed around like I was likely to lick the art if left unattended, and that was not the most welcoming experience.
Finish this statement: “The work exhibited at The Micro Museum is…”
– reflective of the wealth of artistic talent in Somerville
– a celebration of the intimate nature of small-scale work
– a wide-open world of tiny possibilities for the future!
What’s the most surprising response you’ve ever had to your own work? I’m surprised at how many people are surprised that I don’t eat my (food based) work. I spend hours and hours making it (and handling it, and having it get stale…) There are so many reasons not to eat it!
What artists’ work do you most admire? There are so many artists doing amazing things with so many materials, it’s very hard to pick just a few! Also whenever someone asks me that question I forget the name of every artist ever. It’s a very specific kind of art-based amnesia.
Share a surprise twist in the Judith Klausner story. Just recently, we discovered a large katydid living on our porch basil plant. We named it Basil (pronounced the British way), and it is about as close to a pet as I’ve ever had. I’m very fond of Basil, even if it did ruin my plans for fresh pesto. It has really endearing antennae.
The unauthorized biography of your life is titled: “Are You Going to Eat That?”
What is the greatest thing about art? I will answer this with a song quote from a song dear to my heart: “Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.”
Invisible Cities, the inaugural exhibition at the Micro Museum, includes work by Mara Brod, Grace Durnford, Emily Garfield, and Ted Ollier and will run in Somerville’s Union Square from August 15th through October 11th, 2013.
Read Greg Cook’s article about Judith’s “Smallest Museum in the World” in The ARTery.
Images: The Micro Museum before installation, photo by Steve Pomeroy; artist rendering of installation of The Micro Museum, photo by Steve Pomeroy; Judith Klausner, CEREAL SAMPLER #2: THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL (2010), Chex corn cereal, thread.