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Knuckling under


Post from Doug Paschall, Woodmere Curator


[Note: Doug Paschall, curator of the Photo Triennial, wrote to clarify a few things about the show. For more on that see my post of Nov. 12. I’ve shortened and paraphrased from his more lengthy email.] (image is James Toogood’s watercolor painting “The Woodmere Art Museum, 1994)

–Charmaine Caire did get more wall space, some seventy or so running feet to other photographers’ fifty-five-ish running feet… we spaced out Charmaine’s work more widely on the walls…

–Woodmere’s galleries are quite distinctive [Ed. –I’ll say — that rotunda space with the balcony is not only distinctive it’s theatrical and odd]…sometimes it’s magically appropriate, sometimes it’s awkward.

–Our founder, Charles Knox Smith, who built these galleries before the aesthetic of free-flowing space, simply had no way of knowing that I would want to exhibit seven photographers equitably in these rooms.

–When I laid out the Triennial, I had the option to reduce the size of each photographer’s display so we could squeeze them into the large “rotunda” gallery…but that’s not ideal or good for the art or the artists.

–Instead, I went for a bigger show requiring all our galleries. There still would have been an option to keep from showing any of the photographers in the central Schnader Gallery (lest any be “gulag-ed”), but that would have split the exhibition into two very distant halves with a big hole in the middle. Yuck.

–So I opted to use all the ground-floor spaces and had to decide which individual would get the Schnader Gallery (putting two photographers in there would have given each considerably less wall space than the photographers in the other galleries were getting). I chose Charmaine. I think I chose well. Her works seemed to offer a visually and conceptually potent “knuckle” between the other galleries of the show.

–I’ll face this dilemma again in three years, when our next Triennial rolls around, and I’m open to suggestions. –Doug Paschall