Having interned at the Nasher Museum for two years now, I am often asked if I get tired of visiting the museum. What is an afternoon or weekend treat for most students is “work” for me. However, visiting the museum as often as I do has only strengthened my appreciation for all the museum has to offer.
While situated on campus, the Nasher Museum feels worlds away. The building itself designed by architect Rafael Viñoly is like no other structure on campus. Natural light shines through the glass ceiling and rebounds off the walls. It is an exciting place to visit–each pavilion a portal to another time or different place. Each exhibition tells a story and the museum becomes a home to objects from several cultures made by artists from around the world. Take, for example, Doris Duke’s Shangri La. The exhibition is home to islamic art and objects transplanted from Doris Duke’s Hawaiian home. Two distinct cultures represented under one gallery roof.
Having insider access to the museum has its perks. I know about exhibitions before they are announced and I get to see the work that goes into them behind-the-scenes. I hear of the challenges of production and of the little secrets no one walking through the gallery is supposed to pick up on. At times I will stare at a digital image of a painting so much months before it goes on view that I am convinced there will be nothing to see once it hangs on the wall. But alas, no matter how exposed I am to an exhibition before opening day, nothing beats seeing the art in person for the first time. There is something so special, so phenomenological, about walking through the curated world that is the gallery and seeing the true textures and pigments within the art.
Over the course of these two years working at the museum, how I have learned to navigate exhibitions has informed how I now navigate through life–with a greater attention to detail and appreciation for the work that goes into productions great and small.