Then and Now: Media Field Gallery and a Room for Reflection
The museum has been reopened for over a month, and many of the galleries appear much different than they did before the December shutdown. Although a few of the physical changes have taken some getting used to, there are some galleries in which the changes are so transformative one must emend years of deeply seated conceptions about them.
For instance, Medial Field Gallery was once arguably the loudest gallery in the museum. Patrons could hear the ambient sounds produced by the many short films and documentaries trickling from behind the black curtains draped over its entrance. Pulling the curtains aside, they were faced with two rows of plastic chairs lined in front of a white screen, not unlike the setup of a small movie theater. People could sit in groups and enjoy short, clip-based pieces that accompanied installations such as Alec Soth: Niagara and Triston Lowe’s Mocha Dick, or enjoy full documentaries like Nanook of the North.
But that was before February 3. Now Media Field Gallery has emerged into a Room for Reflection, a gallery designated to enjoy and reflect upon a single piece of art (that will change every month) with minimal information and distraction. Rather than multiple rows of chairs, there is a single bench. Rather than musical scores and sound effects, the room is filled with a silent tranquility conducive to art appreciation.
The result is a transformation so complete that the gallery itself must be reflected upon and appreciated in its own right.