“Meanwhile Stories”

The New Main Exhibition Hall

A COUPLE weeks back, I was invited to a press preview of the Huntington Library’s Main Hall renovation. It’s pretty spectacular.

Afterward, I spoke at-length with Karina White, the curator charged with the rethinking, who shared the organizing thesis behind the 12 key objects (Shakespeare folios or, say, the charred remains of Jack London’s original manuscript of The Sea-Wolf, as touchstones — windows onto other events that were occurring simultaneously. Working collectively, the curators dubbed these moments as “Meanwhile Stories” — so that museum visitors will get a sense of the historical context within which these letters, books photographs, journals etc. were a part.

When you visit, make sure to make time to stop by the adjoining Trustee’s Room to take a look at filmmaker Kate Lain’s piece Hand/Study, a 63-minute film projected on an elegant conference table that features disembodied hands executing various tasks often performed in library and/or museum preservation. It’s mesmerizing.

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My piece is up here at KCET Artbound

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