Touching sculpture two examples: a postscript from Cathy Lewis

There has been a great response to Cathy Lewis’s piece about the sensuous, tactile nature of sculpture so I felt I should share her postscript. 

‘Susan, I’d just finished writing this blog when I came across the link below.

 Oh dear! Turn back the clocks. Put up the ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs. Employ Mrs Trunchball-like room stewards.

In my touchy-feely haze, I forgot all about little boys…’

The video is amazing – so worth a watch!

Cathy also sent me a contrasting image from the sunnier side of life.

 The amazing sculpture trail at Bondi Beach, Sydney. Hurrah! A festival of touchy-feely fun...

The amazing sculpture trail at Bondi Beach, Sydney. Hurrah! A festival of touchy-feely fun…

Thanks Cathy!

Comments on the contrast welcome!

About susancrosstelltale

Great visits to heritage and natural sites do not happen by accident. This blog is about the work that make special sites great places to visit. I hope it will be useful to visitors and host alike. Find out more at me and my blog.
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3 Responses to Touching sculpture two examples: a postscript from Cathy Lewis

  1. A cheerful little film! I wonder what a group of girls of the same age would have done? I work a lot with children of this age and am not at all sure that the girls I work with would have been any gentler on the pieces than these boys were. And also not sure that children would have seen what they were doing as “destruction” in the way adults would. Children are used to dismantling constructions and doing something else with the elements whether those are small building block creations or big log and branch dens.

    • Hi Gordon, thanks for the comment (and the confirmation that the rest of the world can see the film). The same thoughts and questions occurred to me – indeed I then went off on one and wondered what a group of 50-something women would do, or a group of 90-something men, or toddlers or … or …

      I suspect some ‘judicous editing’ went into the film. I read a bit more about the experiment and after the
      dismantling some lads went on to make their own structures. Pity we did not get to see that.

      My suspicion is that the ‘breakthrough moment’ when the spheres became footballs and suddenly the boys were confident might have been different for girls. I may be wrong…

      So many interesting questions.

      Interesting too that the artist linked this to the fact that sculpture as an art form is so male-dominated. I am not sure where to go with that.

      Over to Cathy, I think.

  2. Cathy Lewis says:

    Thanks for your comments, Gordon. Maybe you’re right that little girls would have taken a similar course of action! I certainly remember my daughters playing happily with building blocks for hours – and knocking them down was as much fun as building them up.

    But it highlights our need to be tactile. Think of all those first books and learning toys we give to kids – they are fluffy, rough, shiny, crinkly, and have bits that squeak when we squeeze them. So we encourage youngsters to explore everything by touch – but at what age do we expect them to stop touching and start just looking?

    Now fast forward to a museum or gallery visit, can you blame us for reaching out to touch those lovely things? From my observations, many museums have found ways to provide tactile elements for all visitors (not just school groups), but not many art galleries seem to have done so. I’d love to hear about any galleries that do encourage touch.

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