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Movie preview? Nope, this slickly produced video is an exhibition trailer for New Image Sculpture, an upcoming show at San Antonio’s McNay Art Museum. Featuring Brooklyn artist Jade Townsend, the video is a great introduction into what looks like an interesting exhibition.

Panning through a variety of works on display, this video introduces New Image Sculpture as a show about artists that transform materials, creating new objects by re-purposing things from their daily material landscape. Jade Townsend‘s installation, a rambling spread of a falling-down wooden house exploding with artifacts, a crowned figure perched atop, looks great on video in a way that would never be apparent in a single photo.

The exhibition trailer exposes a different side of curating and exhibition-making than the usual press release does. Through the video, we see the artists installing their work in teams, driving the point home that no one is really working in a vacuum. Curator Rene Paul Barilleaux also does an excellent job of explaining his intentions behind the show, presenting in very clear language what would normally be opaquely communicated with some wall text.

The Whitney also produced an excellent video for its Charles LeDray installation a while back, and we’ve seen no shortage of museums embracing multimedia, in particular the Met. Are exhibition trailers an up-and-coming trend?

New Image Sculpture is on view until May 8, 2011 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...

3 replies on “Things We Want to See More of: Exhibition Trailers”

  1. Hi! First time comment. Here I go…

    The concept of trailers for exhibitions is an exciting and intriguing idea for several reasons. The ability to create an exhibition “teaser” for the purpose of generating excitement and interest, while offering additional artists the opportunity to contribute and collaborate through this medium is just fantastic. It basically functions as a succinct video press release or preview. However, as a museum professional, I can attest to the lack of pragmatism in the proposal. For large museums that regularly plan exhibitions months and sometimes years ahead of time, this is a totally viable platform for delivery and marketing. However, for most mid-to-small size museums and gallery spaces, the time frame is much more condensed. Elements like artist rosters and even specific artworks on view are generally not settled until a month before opening (and honestly, if you have that information a month ahead of time, you’re lucky). This is especially the case for exhibitions featuring new bodies of work. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want to see a mash-up of a director’s previous films just to promote a new one, would you? This is no fault of the curators or programmers – this is simply the pace of curation (imho, anyway). That, and take into account the fact that most museums lack the staff or resources necessary for such an undertaking.

    I love the idea. I really do. And the fact that some museums are stepping up to the plate is fantastic. I’m all for big sisters like the Guggenheim making trailers for their exhibitions. I’m just trying to point out why we’re not seeing them already across the board. It’s simply a logistical nightmare.

    1. Thanks for commenting, elp. But as this trailer shows, I don’t think you need to show every work or artist to make the show appealing via video. How about just a taste that will get me into the museum? And from what we can tell the McNay isn’t a large museum. Also, it may be better suited for traveling shows (perhaps part of the package promised to other institutions?).
      But having said this, I COMPLETELY understand your points. Maybe it’s an idea we can aspire to. Thanks for chiming in.

  2. I think it would be really compelling for an artist in a video to talk about the issues they addressing as they produce work in their studio or give some idea about their process. To see the culmination of the (hopefully compelling rhetoric), you are invited to the show. I’d say this is quite feasible. After all, if an artist is not able to produce even preparatory process notes and discuss what they do for a show a month ahead of the opening reception, I’d say you’ve got bigger problems than PR 😉

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