Interview with Dr. Meredith Fluke Concerning “New Gilded Age” Installation

Grace Bromage ‘23

Chief Features Editor

Like many organizations at Holy Cross, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Exhibit operated with the knowledge that people will have access to campus . While that has worked in the past, the people involved with the newest art installation, “New Gilded Age” by B. Lynch, had to get creative in making the exhibit accessible despite a vast majority of the community residing off-campus. In addition to building the actual exhibit on campus, the organizers designed a website which includes quotes, pictures, and videos from and relating to the exhibit so people can experience the exhibit off-campus. I contacted Dr. Meredith Fluke, the director of the Cantor Art Gallery, about her experience organizing “New Gilded Age” and working to make it accessible to all community members.

Dr. Fluke said “from the beginning, we knew that the exhibition would mostly be experienced virtually, but recognized that we would not be able to build a virtual exhibition without first installing an actual one — especially considering the 3-dimensional, immersive quality of B. Lynch’s work. So, throughout the process of creating the artworks, shipping, and installing them, we built video and photography for the website … Fortunately, Holy Cross has amazing resources in its A-V and Education Design and Digital Media services teams, and they were integral to imagining the web presence, and creating the videos and other resources that help to make the show accessible.”

Graphic by Kate Nedorostek ‘23. Photo courtesy of Meredith Fluke.

In regards to the differences she has seen between this exhibit and past ones, Fluke said that “usually when we put together an exhibition, we interact constantly with the audience and understand the exhibition’s impact over the course of a semester — in this constantly shifting landscape, it has been difficult to determine how courses and visitors might interact with the virtual resources, so we have to hope that what we made is useful and solicit feedback… I am excited by the possibilities of greater outreach for Cantor exhibitions, but want to make sure that everything stays connected to the art on campus.”

Considering Dr. Fluke’s close interaction with the exhibit I was curious if she had any favorite parts of it. Fluke said “there are many magical parts of the exhibition, but I am particularly drawn to the Fisher, a small figure that sits alone atop a sea of sheer blue fabric. I also love the many layers of the puppet theater, a theater that B. Lynch first created in miniature to accompany her small figure of the performer, the Saltimbanque. The mini-theater then inspired the artist to create a human-sized version, and to create movable puppets, for which she writes plays and created videos of them (which are featured on the exhibition website). This kind of generative process is an important key to understanding the world the B. Lynch has created, where the characters she creates take on desires and ambitions of their own.”

The “New Gilded Age” installation will run from October 13, 2020 to February 5, 2021. To visit the online website, you can go to https://newgildedage.holycross.edu/

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