Enlarged from the Catalogue: The Art of Precolumbian Gold, The Jan Mitchell Collection


Produced for a group exhibition at Postmasters Gallery, located at that time in the East Village, New York, this project used as a springboard the catalogue of an exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1985, entitled The Art of Precolumbian Gold, The Jan Mitchell Collection. This project was part of a series, entitled Enlarged from the Catalogue...which opened up to inquiry existing museum catalogues and the related categories of value, collecting, and spectatorship.

The installation involved cutting a hole the size of a small-scale framed work of art into an existing wall that was situated parallel to the glass storefront of the gallery. Into this wall was fitted an extruded Plexiglas box frame with a silk-screened image (taken from the catalogue) of an electron microscope photograph of core material from a precolumbian necklace ornament. Several short quotations on the contradictions of taste, authenticity, and collecting were listed under the work in the gallery's list of works, displayed near the reception desk. A text compiled from writings by different authors on the classification of identity and the stakes of the art viewer's or the collector's gaze was silk-screened onto the window. 

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© 2023 Silvia Kolbowski