Machine Project/Hammer Museum Public Engagement Artist in Residence Report

Feb 21, 2012

 In June 2009, the Hammer Museum was awarded a $1 million Arts Innovation Fund grant from the James Irvine Foundation to create a new model for visitor engagement, conceived and driven by artists. The grant enables the Hammer to create a new kind of interactive museum: an artist-driven visitor engagement and education program that encourages daily contact among visitors, artists, and museum staff and activates the spaces, exhibitions, and website in imaginative ways. To that end, Machine Project, The Echo Park-based collective, led by Mark Allen, was invited as the first Public Engagement Artist in Residence (A.I.R.).

Machine Project and the Hammer Museum just published a thorough report on the project goals, activities, and outcomes. It features in-depth interviews with museum staff, participating artists, and much more. Well worth a read if you're interested in re-inventing your local institution.  From Machine's announcement:

Machine Project Hammer Museum Public Engagement Artist in Residence Report

in 2010/2011 Machine Project produced a year of programming which proposed new, alternative, and experimental ways of presenting work at the Hammer Museum. Projects included a vacation for houseplants, a two minute performance series underneath the stairs, an overnight dream-in and a ton of other stuff documented and discussed in this here report

Machine Project Public Engagement Artist in Residence Report (9.6 Mb PDF)

A year later, what seems most interesting about this project is not just what the public experienced, but everything that took place behind the scenes – the conversations with artists, the challenges inside and outside of the museum, the logistic and philosophical issues involved in attempting to suggest other uses for a major cultural institution. The report includes introductory essays by Machine Director Mark Allen and Hammer Director of Public Engagement Allison Agsten, a roadmap for how the projects were produced (in case you want to try this at your own museum) and extensive interviews with both the artists and museum staff.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to see how the public engagement sausage gets made.

See the full announcement, with video documentation of activities, at the Machine Project website.

Tags: Machine Project, Hammer Museum, artist residencies, audience engagement

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