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At This New Exhibit, You Are a Ghost, and You’re Haunting the Museum

"Museum: A Haunted Medium" cracks open the space between viewers and exhibitions

At This New Exhibit, You Are a Ghost, and You’re Haunting the Museum
US artist Traer Scott comments on the ghostly nature of museum preservation.

A new show called “Museum: A Haunted Medium” explores the under-pondered implications of the museum experience through the photography of three North and South American artists. Curated by Fabian Goncalves at the Art Museum of the Americas, the exhibit presents three diverse takes on the middle ground between exhibit and attendee. 

The US artist Traer Scott ruminates on our interactions with animals by capturing the glass reflections of patrons at natural history museums. The ghost-like human reflections are juxtaposed with the vivacity of the taxidermied animals, many of whose preservation behind glass doesn’t reflect their lack of preservation in the wild.

Brazilian artist Paula Pedrosa’s “Diorama” series presents images of zoo and aquarium habitats as commentary on humanity’s control of nature.

Through her “Diorama” series, Paula Pedrosa also probes humanity’s effect on nature. The Brazilian artist captures the plasticy renditions of nature found in zoo and aquarium habitats to present the idea that all nature, both organic and fabricated, is controlled and influenced by humans.

Paula Pedrosa highlights the blending of the past and present in rural scenarios.

Perhaps the most technically impressive work is Argentinian Andrés Wertheim’s double-exposure stills that catapult art museum-goers into the paintings surrounding them. A napping attendee is joined by docile cherubim, and a modern crowd is unwittingly doubled by brightly-hued dancers in Wertheim’s presentation of the past fusing with the present.

Argentinian Andrés Wertheim uses an in-camera double exposure technique to transport museum-goers into the paintings surrounding them.

This is the first time all three artists’ work will be shown in the same space, and Goncalves is excited to experience the very meta affect of observing museum-goers observing musem-goers observing museums. “[They’ll be] generating loops,” he says. “It’s a looping between the present and the past in that painting, then people [will] be creating another loop when they come and see it. The loops are always there, recreating themselves in between past and present.”

“Museum: A Haunted Medium” will be on display at the Art Museum of the Americas’ F Street Gallery through August 30. 1889 F St. NW. Free.


Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.