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Off-Campus: Observational Bias

In this weekly feature, we will share our ideas for what you can do “off-campus” while the museum is closed. Today’s post comes from Nicole M. Roylance, Coordinator of Public Education and Information.

Perhaps this has happened to you: you hear about something and suddenly it seems that it is everywhere. For example, someone mentions Panama and suddenly you hear a radio story about Panama, a character in a novel you are reading is from Panama, and the Travel Channel suddenly celebrates Panama week. You wonder, “What is the big deal with Panama all of the sudden?” This is sometimes referred to as an observational bias. Panama has been there all along, you are just more aware of Panama because it has been brought to your attention.

For the past few weeks, we have been planning a Game Night for Late Night Leaves the Lehman on Thursday, November 4th. One of the games we have selected to play is the Exquisite Corpse. This drawing game of chance was a favorite of the Surrealists, including André Breton and Joan Miró. A player draws one portion of a figure, hides their drawing, and then passes it to the next player to add the next segment. The collaboration results in outlandish and often humorous sketches. It began as a parlor game, but the Surrealists and later artists found the exercise ignited their creativity.

This fall, Chronicle Books has released The Exquisite Book, a variation on this surrealist pastime. The book documents a version of the game played by 100 artists. I made a mental note when the book came out because it included many of my favorite contemporary artists and I smiled to myself about the timing. Now I cannot seem to escape mention of it. Design*Sponge posted that tonight there will be a Book Party and Exhibition to celebrate the book at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. Many of the artists who participated with be present and works will be on view and available for purchase. If you are in the DUMBO area tonight, this seems like a great way to start the weekend. Who knows what you’ll start noticing as a result?

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