Artist: Ariel Maldonado
Exhibition: Don’t Touch the Art
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Ariel Maldonado is an artist at California State University Long Beach. She is very curious of how the presentation of objects affects our reactions to them. She looks at the way items are designed and studies how people will be impacted by them and their approach to the item. She is big on challenging the social norms that are taught to children. One example that she also related to her exhibit was “don’t talk to strangers”. But she makes points that sometimes talking to strangers is necessary and looking for social cues can help decide when it is necessary.
Ariel Maldonado uses clay for some of her work. It was fired clay so it is breakable. She also had little chalk balls that were all sorts of colors and sizes. She used colored light bulbs that can change color with a remote and they were under the clay sculptures. Some of the items in the exhibit were the toys that you might find in the waiting room of a doctors office. It was very similar materials with wire rings on it. Also, there was a maze like sculpture set up with some of the chalk balls in it. The balls can be pushed to move throughout the maze and the walls of the maze itself were held down tight and unable to move.
Ms. Maldonado used very kid friendly materials except for the breakable items and she also made the exhibit very welcoming to all ages. I think she was capturing the young spirit and allowing people to embrace that. She says that sometimes this is necessary just like talking to certain strangers can be necessary and that the rules of “don’t touch this” are getting old. She wanted to see how approachable her work could be, if it would cause people to gravitate to it and play with the things or if it would cause people to be uninterested.
Synthesis / My Experience
I had a lot of fun in this exhibit because it was very hands on and brought a new perspective to art. I am used to art being sacred and behind a line that you can not cross and cannot touch. But her art exhibit was hands on and you can touch all of it. It was fun to see the different designs that were made for the lights and how beautiful everything was. Sometimes, people have to break the rules to enjoy something to its full extent. It made me feel like kid again and just enjoy the simple things. There was no electronic games, it was art that is found daily with kids.