Rhetorical Image Resource Room: A Viewer Participation Project of The New Museum. 1991; 78 pages; staple-bound; 57 b/w illustrations. How Do You See Your Role As A Member of The Museum’s Audience? How Do You Think The Museum Perceives You? For the most part, Museum viewers do not have much power in museums. All artistic and programmatic decisions are made before they enter the gallery. The Rhetorical Image Resource Room was intended to disrupt the passive role offered to visitors in most museums, to actively engage participants in a critical and analytical process, and to foreground the value of viewers’ experiences in art interpretation. Participants were asked questions like, “How do you attempt to understand a work of art?” and “How do you see your role as a member of the museum’s audience? How do you think the museum perceives you?” Over 4,000 responses were collected over the nine weeks of the project. Eventually, the cards spilled over onto all the walls in the room. The assemblage presented here cannot duplicate the actual installation. Rather it is partial and suggestive of the range of the responses generated and the potential for museums to create conditions for public dialogue and criticism around issues of cultural politics. 6 in. x 4 in.
Funding: The New Museum