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How a Blind Professor Is Helping Other Sight-Impaired Museum Visitors Experience Art #ArtTuesday

Haptic Encounter Higgins OConnor Gary Sexton 720x480

Georgina Kleege is creating guided tours for the visual impaired. Via Hyperallergic:

On a tour of the exhibit, participants handled silicon squash, a material used in Michael Arcega’s sculpture, “The Enchanted Island,” inspired by a story about a shipwrecked rabbi going into a mansion and finding two objects on a table: a cornucopia and a ram’s horn, to summon people to prayer. Visitors also held an animal’s head made from the leftover materials that Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor had after making her monumental sculptures based on Golem, on view at the museum. Kleege stresses how visitors to art museums, both sighted and not, long to touch the art.

Haptic Encounter Julia Goodman 720x480

GK: If I ruled the world I would say let everybody touch the art because you get a lot out of it. If you were an art conservator, you would throw things at me. And I realize that’s not going to happen, so since you can’t do that, why not make this information available in some way? There’s a larger political and philosophical issue as well — we have all this rhetoric about diversity and people advocate for it, and you want to include all these people because their perspectives have not been in the culture before. With disability, it’s understood as a lack or something missing, so then it’s like we’re giving you access and that’s the end, and I say, well, no. Blind people’s experience has not been a part of the cultural conversation before, and we have something to say too.

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