Don't mind if I do
Emilie L. Gossiaux
Joselia Rebekah Hughes
and Finnegan Shannon
Jul 7, 2023-Jan 7, 2024
Don't mind if I do, installation at moCa Cleveland, 2023. Photo: Jacob Koestler
Organized in collaboration with Finnegan Shannon
Finnegan Shannon is a creator of loopholes. Their work is mischievous, methodically chipping away at traditional museum practices. By framing institutional change as artwork, the pace of possibility quickens. With Shannon at the helm, Don’t mind if I do is an experiment in more deeply collaborative exhibition-making, demonstrating how even temporary changes in power structures create pathways of access for visitors, artists, and staff.
Grounded in a longtime fantasy of the artist’s–an idea of an exhibition setup that would lavishly meet their access needs–this project developed around a conveyor belt. Embraced for its efficiency and mechanized transport of goods (even sushi), this equipment is reappropriated here as a vehicle for cultivating a more relaxed museum-going experience. The conveyor belt brings artwork to audience members, who are invited to sit on comfortable furniture and engage with a parade of objects through any combination of touch, sight, and sound.
Sharing the work of seven artists who have influenced Shannon’s practice, Don’t mind if I do blurs boundaries between public and private. It puts representations of everyday life that are usually tucked away at home on display. Plastic pill bottles scattered across nightstands share space with a tissue box cover that reminds us of moments of sickness and sadness. Sculptural snapshots of an intimate interspecies bond sit beside gender-affirming packers that feel most at home tucked inside our clothes. They signify illness, reveal systems of support, and are used in play.
Don’t mind if I do destabilizes rigid ableist and exclusionary museum “best practices” like sparse seating, untouchable objects, dense wall labels, and guards who protect rather than invite engagement. It is a project built upon a framework of flexibility. By welcoming glitches, inviting informality and messiness, and unsettling the hierarchy of objects, Don’t mind if I do prioritizes people over artwork and makes more room for us to show up as our full selves.
A NOTE FROM FINNEGAN SHANNON:
This project is the realization of my access fantasy !!
I’m disabled and I need to sit and I love to sit. I’ve been dreaming about an exhibition where instead of having to move from artwork to artwork, I could sit somewhere comfortable and have the artwork come to me. So voilà! A conveyor belt of artworks surrounded by a variety of seating options.
When planning this project, a big question was: what artwork should the conveyor carry? The artists, writers, and thinkers featured nourish my life and practice, and I can’t resist a chance to share their work. Each of the objects presented asks for varied ways of interacting and opens up possibilities for how and what an artwork can convey.
Don’t mind if I do,
The Lewis Gallery is accessible via elevator. Accessible gendered bathrooms are on the ground level and single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms are located on the third floor. All the artwork in this show can be touched. Seating and audio description are both available as a part of the show. The conveyor belt motor makes a soft but high-pitched ringing sound; we have disposable earplugs available. The space will have three air purifiers. Please wear a mask when visiting this exhibition in solidarity with the artists and your fellow visitors.