The exhibition Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis, currently on view in Galleries 4—6, posed a challenge to us during Free First Saturdays, the Walker’s monthly program for kids and families. For those of you who haven’t seen this incredible exhibition, there is some “mature” content (there are hundreds of sculptural representations of phalluses and other detached body parts). Of course the Walker has never been shy about exhibiting work that challenges our boundaries. The content of the Kudo exhibition is complex and symbolic, rather than graphically sexual, so we began thinking about how to present this exhibition to families on Free First Saturday. Some of you may remember discussions about the subject of “Warning: Mature Content” signs on the blogs here and here. Aside from the argument that these warning signs don’t effectively communicate much about the content of such a complex exhibition, these signs may keep people away because parents can’t simply leave their kids to preview the exhibition.
We decided on a new approach for this particular exhibition on Free First Saturdays. We staff the entrances with greeters who could offer families a preview before they enter the exhibition. These greeters are equipped with exhibition catalogs and talking points prepared by the Visual Arts department. Almost every parent, regardless of their opinions about the exhibition, are grateful for the information. Knowledge is power, right? According to the greeters, most who have looked at the catalog decided to enter the exhibition. Some decide they aren’t interested and move on. I’m sure that many families have seen Garden of Metamorphosis who would have otherwise avoided it at first sight of those warning signs. Success! Much appreciation is due to all the Visitor Services staff who have acted as ambassadors to this important exhibition.
Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis is on view until March 22, 2009. Upcoming Free First Saturdays are February 7 and March 7, 10 am—5 pm. Come see Tetsumi Kudo for FREE (or at least come to decide if you want to)! Exhibition catalogs are available for preview at the lobby desks and for sale in the Walker Shop.