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Master in Fine Arts: Curatorial Practice Thesis Exhibition

Brittni S. Winkler

On View:
Saturday, March 12, 2016 — Sunday, March 27, 2016


“The ideal gallery subtracts from the artwork all cues that interfere with the fact that it is ‘art.’ The work is isolated from everything that would detract from its own evaluation of itself. . .” 

- Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space 

The quote above is from a now canonical series of essays first printed in Artforum in 1976 that clarifies that the ‘white cube’ – often used to describe the spaces of museums like this one – is never drained of meaning. In fact, the curator shapes space and meaning for the viewer all the time. This exhibition aims to bring back all the “clues that interfere with the fact that it is ‘art’ by centering the art itself around the participation of the viewer, whose presence is often seen as a distraction from the ‘art’. 

Winkler aims to underscore the importance of the viewer by what might at first seem a slightly unorthodox method: giving free yoga classes within the ‘white cube.’ Indeed, the simplicity and almost uniformity of the ‘artworks’ installed on the walls are a conceit. The unrolled mats on the wall are objects to be looked at, while the rolled up mats can be taken off the racks and utilized during yoga sessions. 

Indeed, she is not just interested in physical space but meta-physical space that is often considered the purview of yoga. A registered yoga teacher, Winkler aims to use yoga practice and teachings to draw important connections that exist between the practices of yoga and ‘art’-making. For instance, art therapist Karen Gibbons in her 2015 book Integrating Art and Yoga Therapy indicates that they share the following attributes: “a promotion of self-awareness, encouragement of a flow state, activation of the limbic brain, reduction of stress, encouragement of observation rather than judgment, encouraging change and healing”. 

The Eastern practice of yoga is much more than just a physical workout or a great way to manage stress, it is an ancient practice embedded in Hindu religion with thousands of different styles and approaches. During the yoga sessions, Winkler will interject verbal statements that will consider curating (manipulating space—both mental and physical) as an artistic practice; the participant/viewer as an artwork; and the lived experience of the class in the gallery as the exhibition. 

Complementary Yoga Classes

Join us and MFA Curatorial Practice student Brittni Winkler for a complimentary yoga class, right inside the museum galleries. Limited mats and props provided. 

  • March 23 at 10:30am, click here for more info.

  • March 24 at 10:30am, click here for more info.

  • March 25 at 10:30am, click here for more info.