Over the years many people have asked me if we’d do Click! again and my general response has been to say that we wouldn’t do a repeat; that our answer would be to take the lessons we learned and do something different. Four years later, our answer is GO: a community-curated open studio project and we hope you will participate in this ambitious undertaking. During GO, we are asking Brooklyn-based artists to open their studios, so that you can decide who will be featured in an exhibition, which will open here at the December Target First Saturday.
You’ll find that some things about GO are similar to Click!—namely this is a Brooklyn-focused initiative where audience participation results in an exhibition at the institution—but this is where the similarities end. Click! was much more about the “crowd” and, in that, we were specifically looking at the wisdom of a group of people unknown to each other creating something and exploring the end result of that aggregated data. Simply put, what would happen when we applied James Surowiecki’s Wisdom of Crowds to art?
GO is much more people focused; it spotlights community and aims to foster personal interaction throughout the process to come to an end result that is a collaborative effort between artists, the public and the Museum’s curatorial staff. The web will be used to help connect everyone and drive these ideas home, but it’s the people that will fuel this project, not the technology and this is a very important distinction.
During GO, artists open their studios and, as part of the guidelines, must be present during the open studio weekend to meet with visitors. The public is asked to create profiles online, check in at studios and then nominate artists for inclusion into a group show at the Museum. Curators will use the same profile structure to open up the process of creating the resulting exhibition.
GO is about getting out into the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and seeing where art making is taking place, talking to artists, discovering spaces in your communities that you’ve never had access to before. You’ll be using web and mobile technology to help you find the studios you’d like to see, but this project is about actually seeing art—in person, not online—and meeting artists prior to making up your own mind about it. GO focuses on what’s happening within the communities of Brooklyn, fostering personal interaction and thinking about the Museum differently; more as a facilitator and a hub for your interaction.
Throughout GO, we’ll be blogging about how we’ve designed this project for participation, our inspiration and more. We sincerely hope you’ll join us during this journey.
Shelley Bernstein is the former Vice Director of Digital Engagement & Technology at the Brooklyn Museum where she spearheaded digital projects with public participation at their center. In the most recent example—ASK Brooklyn Museum—visitors ask questions using their mobile devices and experts answer in real time. She organized three award-winning projects—Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition, Split Second: Indian Paintings, GO: a community-curated open studio project—which enabled the public to participate in the exhibition process.
Shelley was named one of the 40 Under 40 in Crain's New York Business and her work on the Museum's digital strategy has been featured in the New York Times.
In 2016, Shelley joined the staff at the Barnes Foundation as the Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer.