CHAPTER FOUR

SPECTACLES AT SHELBURNE MUSEUM


In this fourth chapter, “Spectacles at Shelburne Museum,” we turn our vision inward. 

Featuring four talented, local multidisciplinary artists, experience Shelburne Museum and its varied gardens, grounds and collections through their creative points of view. Supplied with Snapchat’s Spectacles 3—new, advanced technology—for the day, participating artists recorded ten second videos taken directly from their line of sight simply by pushing a button located on the arms of fashionable sunglasses. Follow along with environmental artist Brian Collier and his twin sons Alex and Max, singer-songwriter Myra Flynn and her daughter Avalon, puppeteer Sarah Frechette, and sculpture and installation artist Lydia Kern as they take you on a tour of the Museum through their eyes.

Disclaimer: Sarah and Lydia chose not to incorporate sound into their videos, and Brian intentionally included 3 videos that feature a distorted lens.

Sarah Frechette wearing 3D camera sunglasses

Brian Collier with Alex & Max Collier

    Hinesburg, VT
   Multidisciplinary
   http://briandcollier.net/
   @bdcsrne

Please share a brief biography about yourself and your work:

Brian D Collier’s projects and public interventions range across a wide variety of media: photography, drawing, video, sculpture, artist’s books, installation and performance. Collier’s work has appeared widely including: Burlington City Arts; Power Plant Gallery at Duke University; Fleming Museum, VT; 60 Wall Gallery, NYC; Neues Museum Weserberg Bremen, in Bremen, Germany; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO; Rowland Contemporary, Chicago, IL; Contemporary Art Center, North Adams, MA; Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and Galería Raúl Martínez, Havana, Cuba. Reviews and articles about Collier’s work have appeared in a variety of publications, among them Art in America, The New York Times, Afterimage, Art Papers Magazine, Domus, The Chicago Reader, Orion: Nature/ Culture/ Place, and The Burlington Free Press. His work is also included in the books: Art and Ecology Now from Thames and Hudson Press, The Object from MIT/Whitechapel Press. In 2021 Collier became a certified Vermont Master Naturalist. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art & Design at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont.

Utilizing new technology, you captured short videos sharing your point of view as you explored Shelburne Museum’s collections, buildings, and gardens. In anticipation for this experience, what were you most excited to highlight and share through these lenses? What was the most surprising discovery you made during your visit?

Since I planned to do this as a collaboration with my 9yr old twins and they will shoot all the videos, I am deeply interested in seeing the museum from their perspective.

The kids and I were most surprised by finding a hen with chicks wandering around the museum campus.

The videos you created at Shelburne Museum replicate the exact personal point of view you experienced at the time of their creation. Knowing this, how did this inform your journey and exploration at the Museum? 

Yes, we made a plan of what we would visit first based on the boys interests and memories of the many previous visits to the museum. I spoke with them about the idea of capturing their visual exploration with video and how that changes what we were looking at and how we were looking at it.

During your recent visit at Shelburne Museum, were there any moments that you felt inspired you artistically?

Just watching the unfiltered excitement of discovery by my children was very inspirational. It reminds me that as adults we often have difficulty accessing this kind of unbridled spontaneous excitement.

Sometimes, art may be initially inspired or informed by personal feelings and experiences, but in its final state, it is often shared publicly and experienced collectively. During your artistic practice, how do you, if at all, consider how your art translates as both a reflection of self and responds to a larger audience?

I always consider the public nature of art and the fact that art functions, at least in part, as a conversation between the artist and the viewer. Although I agree that the process of creating art has many personal, private aspects, it is the sharing of ideas and disembodied conversation through a visual artifact that is most interesting to me.

Myra Flynn

   Shelburne, VT
  Singer/Songwriter
  www.myraflynn.com 

Please share a brief biography about yourself and your work:

I am a classically trained piano player who is a songwriter on purpose and a singer by accident. I’m so thankful for the sweet career I’ve had! 

Utilizing new technology, you captured short videos sharing your point of view as you explored Shelburne Museum’s collections, buildings, and gardens. In anticipation for this experience, what were you most excited to highlight and share through these lenses? What was the most surprising discovery you made during your visit?

I brought my daughter and was excited to see the museum through her eyes! I did not expect to have such feelings of nostalgia wash over me while watching her. I grew up going to this museum. It was special then and it is special now.  

The videos you created at Shelburne Museum replicate the exact personal point of view you experienced at the time of their creation. Knowing this, how did this inform your journey and exploration at the Museum? 

Well, that was easy—we had to do child-friendly things! That being said, I aimed for visually interesting as well. The railroad station was our favorite. Through a child’s eyes (and with the glasses, my own) the railroad is a mountain of wood and steel to climb, with mushrooms growing and balance beams on either side. 😊  

During your recent visit at Shelburne Museum, were there any moments that you felt inspired you artistically?

Yes, I want to host a concert on the Ticonderoga. It would be intimate and beautiful.  

Sometimes, art may be initially inspired or informed by personal feelings and experiences, but in its final state, it is often shared publicly and experienced collectively. During your artistic practice, how do you, if at all, consider how your art translates as both a reflection of self and responds to larger audience?

I’ve always said the difference between a song and an essay, is that music is meant to be shared. I believe that the consideration of one’s audience needs to be baked into the musical artistic process right from the start. We cannot create for only ourselves just like we cannot live for only ourselves. Music is meant to be shared. You never know who might need your song!

Sarah Frechette

   South Hero, VT
  Puppetry Arts
 www.puppetkabob.com
  @puppet_kabob

Please share a brief biography about yourself and your work:

Sarah Frechette is a touring puppeteer, arts educator and stop-motion animation costumer, who splits her time between VT, Europe and Portland, Oregon . She trained in Germany with Master Puppeteer Albrecht Roser, graduated from the University of Connecticut’s Puppetry Arts Program, and most recently fabricated giant figures for Monkey Paw Production’s Wendell & Wild. Sarah’s Vermont based solo show “The Snowflake Man” was awarded an UNIMA-USA citation of excellence and her works have been exhibited in the Shelburne Museum.

Utilizing new technology, you captured short videos sharing your point of view as you explored Shelburne Museum’s collections, buildings, and gardens. In anticipation for this experience, what were you most excited to highlight and share through these lenses? What was the most surprising discovery you made during your visit?

I was most excited to feature all the puppet-esque items. The collection’s automatons and dolls are rarely highlighted gems. 

The various layouts and display designs lingered with me as much as the overall objects and art inside each display. Oh, and the toy room! How could I have forgotten about this brilliant collection? It is a discovery I will gladly make again and again. 

The videos you created at Shelburne Museum replicate the exact personal point of view you experienced at the time of their creation. Knowing this, how did this inform your journey and exploration at the Museum? 

This trip I didn’t worry about seeing everything, instead I took the time to really explore the pieces I chose to see. 

During your recent visit at Shelburne Museum, were there any moments that you felt inspired you artistically?

Most definitely. Everytime I create a new show I like to choose a different style of puppetry. The wooden toys that are cut in a soft shape and covered with 2D illustrations of animals and automobiles gave me some great ideas!

Sometimes, art may be initially inspired or informed by personal feelings and experiences, but in its final state, it is often shared publicly and experienced collectively. During your artistic practice, how do you, if at all, consider how your art translates as both a reflection of self and responds to larger audience?

As I glided from case to case, I could hear people rotating through the dolls and automatons collection commenting out loud how “freaky” each display was. As I was shifting around in the glasses, they’d catch me, and this other “freakier” thing of a person interacting with a display in an unfamiliar way would quiet them instantly. I found I enjoyed the contrast of people judging each display so simply. It was totally interesting, because as a puppet creator, I know that on the flip-side the artists who made these fantastic complex figures of art did not expect such an adverse reaction to their innovations.

Lydia Kern

   Burlington, VT
  Sculpture and Installation Art
  www.lydiakern.com
  @lydeia

Please share a brief biography about yourself and your work:

Lydia Kern is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Burlington, Vermont. Her work primarily consists of sculpture and installation, placing and stitching found objects and materials into new relationships with each other. These combinations create a weighty yet ephemeral material poetic, addressing themes of mending and memorialization.

Utilizing new technology, you captured short videos sharing your point of view as you explored Shelburne Museum’s collections, buildings, and gardens. In anticipation for this experience, what were you most excited to highlight and share through these lenses? What was the most surprising discovery you made during your visit?

Before arriving, I was most excited about exploring the quilt collection, as it relates to my current work. The fact that it was not available to view the day I was there was actually an unexpected gift, as it made me more open and curious about other works. I was surprised at how extensive the museum’s painting collections are! I wasn’t expecting to get to view a Monet up close.

The videos you created at Shelburne Museum replicate the exact personal point of view you experienced at the time of their creation. Knowing this, how did this inform your journey and exploration at the Museum? 

At the beginning of my visit, themes of connection, exchange, and motion jumped out to me- in portraiture and in the many forms of circular transportation found throughout the grounds. Motion and relationships interest me, from the carousel, to the hands portrayed in paintings and sculpture, to the circular wheels found beneath the steamboat and wagons. As I moved throughout the grounds, I used those themes to guide what I chose to film.

During your recent visit at Shelburne Museum, were there any moments that you felt inspired you artistically?

I felt inspired by many things, but one specific moment was in viewing the wall installation in the Pizzagalli Center entrance, made out of metal tools and hinges. The repurposing of these metal forms into star like patterns was a striking, allowing these old tools to time travel and shape shift in a new modern context. 

Sometimes, art may be initially inspired or informed by personal feelings and experiences, but in its final state, it is often shared publicly and experienced collectively. During your artistic practice, how do you, if at all, consider how your art translates as both a reflection of self and responds to larger audience?

 I am drawn to certain materials or objects because of specific associations and experiences I have with them, but it is very important to me that the final pieces create spacious visual metaphors for the viewer to project their own experiences upon. In completed sculptural installations, the materials in relationship to one another gain meaning beyond themselves, as do my personal experiences when shared outwardly in the works. If the work can translate a feeling that the viewer can relate with, it puts us both in a space that is less solitary. The offering to the viewer and the gift I receive back is in this translation and re-contextualization.