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by Shannon Karol
If there is one thing I love, it’s a good pop culture reference. You can keep your “brown paper packages tied up with strings”–movie quotes, memes, and TV theme songs are some of my favorite things. That’s why I’m so excited to be launching a new gallery talk program at CAM this Saturday, September 26. Each Fandom tour will use one element of popular culture as the jumping off point for a playful and humorous exploration of our galleries.
This whole idea started over a year ago, when I first became hooked on Game of Thrones. My co-worker Russell and I were walking through the galleries, and we both agreed that Anthony van Dyck’s Portrait of a Man in Armor looked an awful lot like Tywin Lannister. We continued to look for the residents of Westeros in our galleries, which led to a two-page list of GoT doppelgangers in our collection. Because we’re trying to schedule Fandom programs to align with movie and TV premiere dates, you’ll have to wait until April for the full Game of Thrones Fandom experience. But we have plenty of other great topics planned for Fandom this year, beginning this Saturday with The Hunger Games.
At this point, you may be wondering just how this program is going to work. Truthfully, I’m still trying to figure this out myself. I would, however, encourage you to check any of your expectations about a “typical” gallery talk at the door. To begin with, you won’t be learning the art historical content behind a work of art. Instead, you may be asked to consider whether George Washington is more like President Snow or Katniss Everdeen. Or how the architecture of the Cincinnati Art Museum is similar to architectural elements of a galaxy far, far away (which may happen during November’s Star Wars-themed Fandom). The idea is that these tours will be fun, while also challenging you to think about our collection in new and humorous ways.
I hope that you’ll join us at 2 p.m. on the fourth Saturday of each month to see what pop culture connections we can concoct related to our collection. You don’t need to be a pop culture expert, but you do need to be willing to play along. I’ll end with a spoiler alert: this program is going to be awesome.
Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, b. 1599, d. 1641), A Man in Armor, c. 1621-27; oil on canvas; Gift of Mary M. Emery; 1927.393