Virtual Exhibit Takes Shape

Working at the Rose Art Museum over the summer has been a considerably different experience than being here during the school year, which is when I learn about the logistics of keeping a museum’s doors open. Recently I got to see what the process of de-installing an exhibition looks like. Currently I am getting a glimpse into what planning one entails, as my work is being done in relation to the museum planning a reimagining of a historical exhibition of Louise Nevelson’s work.


Detail of the empty Fineberg Gallery, which will soon be full of artwork again.

A fair bit of my time at the beginning of this internship went into researching the immersive installation created by Nevelson at the Rose in ‘67, which I am recreating virtually. I also spent quite a bit of time on measuring the space so I can faithfully reconstruct what it looked like. Later I began modeling some of the sculptures and thinking about 3D printing them at the Maker Lab, which is located in the library. There I talked to other enthusiastic students/makers who loved the idea of making art museums more accessible via new technology. A current worker at the Maker Lab became really interested in this project and is joining me in continuing to work on this project over the next semester.

So far we have worked on putting together everything we have of the space and of the sculptures into a game engine called Unreal. From this engine one can export the virtual environment to an Oculus Rift, which allows the user to experience the environment as if they are physically in it.

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Maker Lab worker wearing the Oculus Rift and a computer screen showing what he is seeing.

Unreal Second ImageDetail of Lower Rose Gallery with two works by Louise Nevelson. On the left Totality Dark, 1962, courtesy of Pace Gallery, NY, and The Tropical Gardens on the right, 1967, courtesy of Grey Gallery, NY.

Talking to museum staff about recreating the exhibit has also been incredibly encouraging. Everyone has been passionate about museum accessibility and has been helpful when it came time to do more art historical research and to think about questions of copyright of images.

Aside from the major difference of not having homework and classes to go to, this summer has so far been a really optimistic glimpse into the World of Work. Being surrounded by interesting people who are enthusiastic about museum accessibility and new technology has been great. Furthermore, getting a chance to delve into an area of work and focus on something I am really interested in has been phenomenal and I feel like I am learning a lot.

In that line of thought, I am indeed exploring more deeply ideas and technology that I studied in 3D Animation class. I’m spending quite a bit of time learning new things and problem solving sometimes on my own and sometimes with colleagues. These skills feel like they are going to be essential to my professional development because no matter how much any of us learns in college we will need to think on our feet and learn new things as we go along.

– Daniela Dimitrova ’16