Students led by artist Lexa Walsh take over the museum

Students led by artist Lexa Walsh take over the museum

Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA)

Photo: Stuart Mullenberg, Portland Monthly.
January 24, 2016
Students led by artist Lexa Walsh take over the museum

January 28, 2016, 5–8pm

Williams College Museum of Art
Main Street
Williamstown, MA 01267
Hours: Friday–Tuesday 10am–5pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm

T 413 597 2429

A group of Williams students, led by artist Lexa Walsh, take over the Williams College Museum of Art during WCMA at Night on January 28 from 5–8pm. From alternative tours to unexpected sound interventions and installations that upend museum etiquette, this program of student-developed projects will overturn visitors’ expectations of the museum. These dynamic interventions will engage WCMA, its collections, and its staff in unconventional and innovative ways.

The program for WCMA at Night stems from, Mapping the Museum, a four-week long winter study course taught by Walsh. The students spent January in the WCMA galleries, reconsidering the site of the museum as they researched contemporary artists and institutions innovating in the realms of public participation, interpretation, and institutional critique. They drew inspiration from the work of artists including Andrea Fraser, Fred Wilson, Mark Dion, Tino Sehgal, The Guerrilla Girls, and Machine Project, as well as institutional initiatives such as those at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, California; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; The Exploratorium, San Francisco; and Portland Art Museum, Oregon. The students worked collaboratively to develop their own projects that address art history, education, analysis, and the possibility of what a museum can be.

This course was taught in conjunction with WCMA’s upcoming exhibition Both Sides Now, an installation by siblings Dan and Lexa Walsh that merges their artistic practices around a shared interest in perception and encounters among objects and people. Dan, a minimalist painter, and Lexa, a socially engaged artist, came together to create an exhibition that encourages new investigations and responses to WCMA’s collection. The experiential exhibition will be installed during the winter study and open on February 12.

About the artist
Lexa Walsh is based in Oakland, CA. She examines and creates social ties to craft “hospitable democracies”—frameworks for spontaneous interaction, subverting hierarchies to spark, forge, and nurture relationships. She has worked, exhibited, and toured internationally. She was a recipient of Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure Award, the CEC Artslink Award, and the Gunk Grant. She has participated in projects, exhibitions, and performances nationally at Apexart, New York; de Young Museum, San Francisco; The Lab, San Francisco; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland; Oakland Museum of California; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and has done several international artist residencies and projects in Europe and Asia. Lexa co-founded and conceived of the all women, all toy instrument ensemble Toychestra. She organizes Oakland Stock, a micro-granting dinner series that supports artists’ projects. She is a graduate of Portland State University’s Art & Social Practice MFA program.

Williams College Museum of Art
The Williams College Museum of Art makes dynamic art experiences to incite new thinking about art, museums, and the world. At the heart of the Williams College campus the museum draws on the collaborative and multidisciplinary ethos of the surrounding college to enliven the more than 14,000 works in its growing collection. The museum and its collection are a catalyst for student learning and community engagement. The museum is open 10am to 5pm, Thursdays 10am to 8pm, and closed Wednesdays September through May. In June, July, and August WCMA is open every day 10am to 5pm and 10am to 8pm on Thursdays. WCMA is free and open to all. For more information, contact the museum at T 413 597 2429 or visit

Photos available upon request.
Press contact: Kim Hugo, Communications Manager; T (413) 597 3352; [email protected]


Students led by artist Lexa Walsh take over the Williams College Museum of Art

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January 24, 2016

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