Our new exhibition, Making Magic: Beauty in Word and Image recently opened a little later than expected, due to the events with Hurricane Sandy. Nonetheless, it is on view and there are some pretty fun ways that you can become involved in the installation!

This exhibit is a very personal project by our Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator, Brian Peterson. It is focused on the theme of beauty, incorporating the work of contemporary photographers and 16 poets. In the installation, visitors can come in and view the photographs, but also listen to the poets reading their work at various listening stations in the exhibition. Four themes of beauty arrange the show’s content which include:  lyrical, corporeal, emphathic, and transforming.

The central part of the exhibition is where you can let your voice be heard! There are various activities that you can respond to and your responses could be selected to be included on the walls of the exhibit. One worksheet asks visitors to respond to the question, “What Does Beauty Mean to You?”. We have received some wonderful responses thus far!

Paula Chamlee (b.1944), Reydarfjordur, Iceland, 2004, Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 inches, Collection of the artist.

Another worksheet asks visitors to look at to the two photographs and two poems featured in this central space and consider various questions when reflecting on them. The two photographs are by Paula Chamlee (at left) and Michael Becotte (below). The two poems that are included are by Bernadette McBride and Marylou Kelly Streznewski. Visitors can submit their responses in the boxes found in the space, and museum staff will select responses to place on the magnetic boards on the walls.

Michael Becotte (b.1945), Construction #339, 2003, iris print on paper, H. 28 x W. 36 inches, James A. Michener Art Museum. Museum purchase funded by the Bette and G. Nelson Pfundt Photography Endowment.

In addition, you can listen to our audio tour (pdf.) featuring stops by Brian Peterson,  recordings by the 16 poets, and a greeting by our Director, Lisa Hanover.  You can also respond to the questions on the worksheets via this audio tour, rather than submitting something written in the installation. Some of these recorded responses will also be chosen to be included in the exhibit so that others can hear them!

So, what is beautiful to you? Tell us what you think!