Park McArthur and the Politics of Curated Art

Park McArthur’s work shifts and alters to respond to the institutional and architectural context of exhibitions spaces, complicating the exhibition space as a work of art itself.

Her work often alters and changes in response to exhibitions that are present in the gallery, responding to the central themes of the exhibition. Her sculptures do not change material or shape in drastic degrees, but rather are moved and rearranged over the course of the exhibition. 

McArthur works examine the social conditions of dependency in relation to care and access. She works in materials which are frequently associated with monumentality, memorials, and museums.

There materials, which erode and decompose over time, shift in structure as the meaning and interpretation of the work shifts in response to historical context. 

We are meant to gather around her work, as we do around art in museums, as we do around memorials and monuments, to honor, absorb, educate and explore the ongoing relationships we have with the work and with each other.

As one gathers around the extraordinary nature of her work, we are meant to understand this space as ceremonial and recreational, connecting us all in this small act of congregation.

McArthur’s work drives you to think about social and political issues as related to curated art spaces. Accessibility into curated art galleries and spaces is limited to many individuals, making it impossible for these individuals to enter the galleries and to see works presented in front of them.

Beyond issues of accessibility in regards to physicality, McArthur’s work facilitates communication and contemplation over accessibility of housing and education. 

Her work fancifully displays politically loaded plans from within the comfort of institutions. These works call to action many political and social issues that crowd our lives, that arise in some people’s lives more than others, and that is often overlooked by some individuals altogether, but do so in spaces that are not welcoming or available to all individuals; art galleries and museums are not accessible to poor populations for their high admission fees or to uneducated individuals for cultural expectations of knowledge and prestige.

She is, however, spotlighting these problems, recognizing their impacts, and offering possible alternatives. 

All artwork copyright the artist.

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