A few years ago when I worked at the museum on campus, we hosted a visiting artist who was commissioned to do an outdoor, site-specific artwork while some renovations were being done to our physical space. Meaning: the museum had to be closed for the summer and the fall semester, so this was the director’s way of keeping the museum open while it couldn’t physically be open.
The visiting artist spent time walking all around the campus, searching for the perfect space to create her site-specific artwork. She was intrigued by a large, blank canvas in the middle of the campus: the campus pond. She noticed that the reflection is different depending on where you are standing in relationship to the pond, so every person’s perspective would be unique; yours would be different than mine, depending on where you’re standing.
She decided to paint a large piece on the exterior wall of the building in which our museum is housed, and this is what that painting was. What do you notice?
I didn’t realize that you only see the reflection of what’s on the opposite side of the water from you; never what’s behind you. This is obvious to me now, but I guess I had never thought about it before. I know I’m not alone because a colleague asked me at the time, “Can you see the reflection from the door of the museum?” I explained that to be able to see it, the pond has to be between the artwork and the observer; that the reflection I see from the door of the museum is of the library, which is what’s on the other side of the pond from our building…
The name of her temporary, site-specific artwork was called Just a Rumor.