Shimon Attie

The Crossing

April 20 through September 29, 2019

MMoCA is pleased to present Shimon Attie: The Crossing, an exhibition developed in partnership with the Art History course Design Thinking for Exhibitions, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Shimon Attie’s eight-minute video installation, The Crossing (2017), muses on the current global refugee crisis. The film opens with seven young adults sitting around a slowly-spinning roulette table. The room is quiet and the gamblers hold motionless poses. Each player places a bet and then, one by one, disappear from the table. As the film concludes, only a single person remains. Poignantly the film reveals that the actors are not actors at all, but Syrian refugees. As noted by Attie, The Crossing “reflects the extraordinary risks migrants are forced to take in times of crisis, literally gambling for their lives.”

Design Thinking for Exhibitions is taught by professor Anna Campbell. The class develops an exhibition over the course of the academic spring semester, using MMoCA as a critical training ground for hands-on application. Stemming from a shared interest in utilizing museum spaces for direct learning, this cross-institutional venture seeks to cultivate the next generation of museum professionals by introducing participants to the practical and theoretical matters of curation. The resulting exhibition opens in the museum’s Imprint Gallery on April 20, and will be on view through September 29, 2019.

For this course, classroom-based learning with Professor Campbell employs the strategies of design thinking—a human-centered approach to understanding and solving real world problems. Discussions focus on the politics and ethics associated with exhibitions as social engagement and on the curator’s role in articulating conversations between art objects and the public. Students will engage in extensive dialogue and collaboration with key museum staff on practical concerns such as exhibition timelines, installation logistics and design, and how to compose curatorial texts for the public.

Exhibition Sponsors

Generous funding for Imprint Gallery programming has been provided by Willy Haeberli in memory of Gabriele Haberland.