Sunday, June 28, 2009

Simple but effective: an exhibition of Folk Art


I'm on a couple of groups that periodically churn out announcements related to museums in Second Life with a landmark to some virtual museum spot or other. Usually, if I go it's either a yawner or it just doesn't really work in any kind of a cohesive way. And you say, "My Golly, that was a noble attempt" or something like that, and then wander off to go shopping for a new gun or some other piece of shiny virtual hardware. So today I got one announcing that the Folk Art New England Museum in the Mystic sim had reinstalled a small show of...wait for it...*drum roll*...Folk Art in New England!

And I figured, "oh what the fuck, why not"...

...and you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. It was a modest but attractive, thoughtful little exhibit. As far as I was concerned, it worked and worked well. Damn if I didn't enjoy it.

The TP brought me smack dab to the door of a recreation of a simple sort of vaguely federal-style style house and inside on the first floor was a series of about 15 images and some interpretive text around the walls. The curator of the show very effectively used the style of SL exhibit that, as I recall, was pioneered at the old Caledon Library in Tamrannoch by the esteemed JJ Drinkwater. The exhibit began with some good, readable labels that laid out the interpretive themes of the show, and then as you went around and looked at the reproductions of framed paintings, quilts, etc., you touched them and got a relatively detailed but not overly lengthy notecard with information and interpretation for each individual piece. And like I said, I enjoyed it...I spent a while looking around and even read some of the notecards and found them enlightening.

The art itself was fun stuff--I mean hell's britches, look at the above image and check out the kid pictures (which along with a whaling scene were my favorite pieces in the show) and tell me if they don't make you smile, at least a little. If they didn't, then goddammit you either got a heart of pure lutetium wrapped in dried dog turds, or you need to check yer goddam pulse cuz yer probably dead.

Upstairs there was a second exhibit that focused on the work of a particular artist, but I had church services in Deadwood to get to so I just skipped that for now. Maybe some other time...

At various points you could get a notecard that explained who was behind this admirable little effort. Let me quote from it to give you the basics:

"This museum is a project of the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, the repository of one of America's greatest collections of American folk art. All of the items included in this SL museum hail from New England, and represent one of the finest assemblages of the region's heritage anywhere. Make sure you see both floors.

We will change exhibitions regularly in order to highlight the many important artworks that are currently in storage. We are also actively pursuing partnerships with other museums in New England to bring you more exhibitions of a wide variety of collections. PLEASE TOUCH THE ARTOWRKS TO RECEIVE NOTECARDS.

For information about the Fenimore Art Museum, please see"

The contact person listed was Nicolo Anthony. I want to tell Mr. Anthony and his colleagues that I think they did a nice job. Their museum and its exhibits are easy to find, straightforward to navigate, clean-looking and they successfully convey a message (you'd be astonished how many sl museum projects not only don't do an adequate job of conveying their message, they don't seem to have any kind of coherent point at all...but that's another rant for another day).

If you want to go see this it's at:
Folk Art New England Museum, Mystic (52, 60, 24)


  1. Some of the best shows I've been to have been arranged by Caligypian Christensen - actually hanging and displaying a collection is an art in itself.

  2. Thank you for the review, Dio. So glad you enjoyed our SL museum. for the record, I am Nicolo Anthony in SL, in RL I am Paul D'Ambrosio, VP and Chief Curator of the Fenimore Art Museum.
    Thanks again!

  3. Hey Paul!

    You're welcome.

    I'm gratified you dropped by here, and I want you to know I think it's awful kind of you to dignify my comments with the appellation "review."

    I hope it gets you some traffic.

  4. By the way,Dio, I posted a link to your blog on the Museum's Facebook page. I hope it draws some traffic your way.

    Take care, and thanks again!


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