Grace Bromage ‘23
Chief Features Editor
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at Holy Cross can be a sanctuary in the midst of a busy school week, a place where students and faculty can be immersed in the exhibits. Now, with socially distancing and remote learning, the Cantor Art Gallery has had to change the ways in which it is accessible to the public. This week I interviewed Meredith Fluke, the director of the Cantor Art Gallery, about her experience organizing exhibits in the time of Covid-19.
1) This is one of many galleries that you have put together virtually since the pandemic was announced in March 2020. Have you noticed any differences?
We have done several exhibitions now with a virtual component, starting with Professor Susan Schmidt’s Joys, Sorrows, and Concerns that opened last year (2020) on March 9th, and for which, due to Covid, we needed to create a virtual platform very quickly. For each exhibition, we have considered the relationship between in-person and virtual experience, which has evolved as the year has progressed, and as students have returned to campus. The senior concentration seminar last spring, for example, was fully virtual – which meant that the website functioned as the sole viewing space for the show. With B. Lynch’s New Gilded Age (Fall 2020) and now Kevork Mourad: Memory Gates, we have installed the art in the gallery, so the respective websites need to function both as a secondary resource for hosting videos and photos of the exhibition, and as the primary way that people – in particular those who cannot come to campus – will experience the exhibition.
2) How are you managing the virtual and the in-person components?
Managing virtual and in-person components has been a productive challenge, in that we are able to develop both together, rather than having the website be solely a depository of gallery installation photos. The negative is that the work is more intensive and complex, but we at the Cantor are lucky to have great partners in the EdTech department, who are very skilled at finding new solutions and technologies for creating more dynamic content. Of course the most important outcome to this work is that our programs have greater reach, especially to those visitors who are far away or can’t attend in person. We are looking forward to continuing online and virtual components, and to connecting with broader audiences even in a post-covid world.
3) What has it been like working with Kevork Mourad and seeing the progression of his work?
Really exciting! Kevork is a particularly dynamic and responsive artist, so it’s been so interesting to work with him and document the project as it develops. It’s amazing what he was able to produce in only 10 days, given that he arrived on February 22nd with only a bolt of fabric and his art supplies. As many people at Holy Cross have witnessed through his previous residencies through ATB, Kevork’s print-making and drawing processes are performance in their own right; we’ve tried to capture that energy in the videos that we created for the website — hopefully viewers will get a sense when they visit.
4) How can people visit the gallery in person? Do they need to make appointments?
Our doors are open! Anyone from the Holy Cross community can visit the gallery — the Cantor Gallery is open 10 – 5, Monday – Friday. We are asking non-HC visitors to email or call to make an appointment (contact Paula Rosenblum at firstname.lastname@example.org), so that we can make sure that we do not exceed our 15 person capacity, and so that Holy Cross students take precedence.