The beauty of the Barrick Museum lies not only in its rotating contemporary art exhibits, but also in its educational, interactive art-making events: the ongoing Art Bar, available to anyone who stops in to make works from the ample pile of materials in the lobby, to visitor-made guides of the outside desert garden, to the annual Day of the Dead altar/time capsule, to Visitor Made, an ongoing Third Thursday public art-making experience based on works featured in the current exhibit.
There’s been a Visitor Made blind contour drawing night based on artist Wendy Kveck’s work in the group show Break Ups and Tear Downs, collage-making inspired by JK Russ’ found-image landscapes in the same show and, most recently, an Ellsworth Kelly night, in which the discussion centered on the difficulty of creating minimalist art. “Simplicity is harder to get,” Mark Garcia says, adding that Kelly’s angles are surprisingly impossible to measure up to.
Established after the success of 2014’s visitor-made ex-votos for Private/Public: Images of Devotion From 19th and Early 20th Century Mexico, Visitor Made stems from program director Aurore Giguet’s interest in having a tactile experience to go with exhibits. Visitors toil away at a table in the lobby with construction paper, X-Acto knives and protractors, testing the “My kid could make that” claim heard at contemporary art museums.
“It’s important that they are studies, that they can make four or five things and not this one, museum-ready product,” says staffer Alisha Kerlin, adding that Visitor Made teaches people who don’t normally make art to consider composition and choices artists make. Next month, it’s “Sticker Stories,” sticker and mylar works inspired by a piece by Eun Young Choi in the main gallery.
Visitor Made Third Thursdays, 4-7 p.m., free. UNLV's Barrick Museum, 702-895-3381.