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Youth Insights Leaders Tour the Biennial

MAY 10, 2012

YI Leader Mamadou talks about Biennial artworks on the second floor of the Museum. Photograph by Berry Stein

YI Leader Mamadou talks about Biennial artworks on the second floor of the Museum. Photograph by Berry Stein

During the few days before the Biennial 2012 exhibition opened, there was a buzz of energy at the Museum. All of the YI Leaders, including myself, were eager to explore the show and learn more about the artists and the pieces they had created. We did some preliminary research on the artists, but nothing prepared us for the works that we would eventually have to explain to touring teens.

On March 5,  the YI Leaders got a chance to roam the floors. For the following month we prepared to give tours by learning about a variety of artists in the show.  We were very fortunate to meet with Elisabeth Sherman, the assistant to the curatorial team of this year’s Biennial. She provided great information about the individual artists, their ideas, studios, lives, and interests.

YI Leaders get a sneak peak of the Biennial exhibition and take notes on K8 Hardy’s work. Photograph by Berry Stein
YI Leaders preparing for tours in front of Kai Althoff’s installation. Photograph by Berry Stein
YI Leaders Isaiah and Zoe answer questions and talk about Youth Insights teen programs at the end of their tour. Photograph by Carda Burke
YI Leader Elleni talks to teens from the ICP program about Nicole Eisenman’s monotypes. Photograph by Carda Burke

The most rewarding and helpful sessions were the ones with the artists whose works were on view.  We were able to meet a number of artists including Sam Lewitt, Dawn Kasper, Nicole Eisenman, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Elaine Reichek. They told us about their processes, what they are interested in, why they made their pieces, and how their work reflected them as artists. It was great to ask questions and receive honest answers from these artists. Meeting them enriched our knowledge of their work.

Recently, we have given an amazingly high number of teen tours. It has been difficult remembering facts, engaging students, and sparking discussion, but overall the YI Leaders have been doing a great job. My favorite parts of giving tours are seeing the students’ faces when we look at Sam Lewitt’s sculptural piece covered in Ferro Fluid, and telling students about Dawn Kasper’s installation and performance piece, This Could Be Something If I Let It. There are challenges to leading tours, but the overall experience has been fun and memorable.

By Zoe, YI Leader