Students from the Montessori School of the Berkshires came on a series of visits to Anatemno: I cut up, cut open at 74 North Street, Pittsfield. As students filed in, grades K-5th, they immediately remarked, "THIS is the museum?!" They were shocked. Most had been to a museum or formal gallery before, but they noticed that the 74 North space was a little different. I'll admit, discussing the idea of site-specific installation art and alternative gallery spaces with elementary students was certainly foreign to me. These students, however, surprised me with their insightful comments and questions, ranging from, "I like how it looks like it is coming out of the hole in the ceiling" to "What came first, the artwork or the space?" to "This is the stuff that's inside us all!".
The students were specifically interested in anatomy and are studying body systems during their school day. We discussed some of the anatomical concepts behind my work and the body systems that they apply to. We looked at some of the animal skulls I use for inspiration; paying specific attention to skull sutures, those beautiful squiggles of bone where it has fused together in fiborous joints.
Topics that I thought may be too far-reaching for these young students, turned out to be right at their level. They were able to quickly find connections between what they were learning in school and the artwork on the walls, no matter how abstract some of it may be.