Seeing the world through many layers
September 27, 2016
Julie Decker, director and CEO
In a time of reality television, the need to separate the real from the staged can be ubiquitous. Museums specialize in and treasure the authentic object — the real thing — for all of the history and context it embodies.
This fall we are looking at camouflage and thinking about the visible and invisible, the ways we disguise and conceal, and the way our changing world affects the ways we think about privacy.
Camouflage has always been part of the natural world. Animals are experts at hiding from their prey or becoming stealthy to stalk it. Octopus and cuttlefish can change colors to blend in with their environment, an amazing feat of nature.
Military camouflage mimics these adaptations because remaining unseen provides a means for protection and attack. Artists are interested in these ideas and patterns. Dazzle camouflage attracted the notice of artists, such as Picasso, who claimed that Cubists like himself had invented it. Andy Warhol painted self-portraits and enormous canvases in camouflage. Camouflage also made its way into film, music and fashion. Even Valentino used camouflage as his muse.
From makeup to hair color to clothing, there are many ways we change our appearance to conceal or stand out. In today’s digital world, camouflage takes on new meaning, from data breaches to identity theft to digital camouflage. Privacy concerns and online identities have changed the ways we think about what is seen and unseen, real and imagined. The Anchorage Museum is interested in ideas that have many layers and applications.
Camouflage provides a way to look at human history, natural science and contemporary culture. Through a major exhibition and a series of events and workshops for families, artists and others, the museum expands and highlights the ways we see — and don’t see — our world. We end the year with a Razzle Dazzle New Year’s Ball as a way to celebrate all that is visible.