OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — You can hear a normal museum docent approaching now. ‘Get down from there!’ ‘Don’t touch that!’ ‘Who gave you that paint anyway?’
But on a Saturday night in February, whoever thought to bring their kids to this art opening was a genius.
Every piece of art in the new Soundscapes exhibit was meant to touch in some way because doing so made a sound.
Christie Hackler grew up watching the Oklahoma wind wave tall grass.
It’s hard to get a breeze through an art gallery so she hooked up a valve spring foot pedal to her stands of cut, metal grass.
Suddenly, there was movement and sound at the same time.
“It’s very loud,” she said at the show opening. “It’s not a pleasant sound but it’s noise.”
Eleven artists had a few months to create pieces that would make noise or cross over from the visual to the aural.
Gallery director Scott Henderson chose each one carefully.
“I challenged these artists to come up with a sound sculpture,” he said. “That’s a piece of art that produces sound or vice versa.”
Banging on suspended plastic tubes is supposed to remind viewers of a waterfall.
Some pieces require the use of a cell phone, others the push of a button.
Henderson even put an old piano out so visiting artists could express themselves by painting on it or attaching something to it.
“And since this is a hands on museum,” says Henderson, “we want people to interact with the work.”
Sight and sound; two different senses that go together quite nicely, especially on TV.
At the Science Museum of Oklahoma, this normally quiet art gallery now fits in with the hands on mentality of the whole building.
For more information on the Soundscapes exhibit go to http://www.sciencemuseumok.org