"Mowry Baden Reels In PCMA Visitors," by Esther Cheung, The Student Life
“Can I touch it?” visitors asked museum guard Erin Hoey SC ’16 at Pomona College Museum of Art's Mowry Baden: Dromedary Mezzanine, a new installation donated by the artist to the permanent collection. Whereas most artists would be furious with finger oils damaging the integrity of their pieces, the colossal art piece by Mowry Baden PO '58 demands audience participation. Viewers are asked to step up onto a platform where they can rotate a crank to turn the front wheel, which moves the entire machine in a circle.
PCMA senior curator Rebecca McGrew highlighted Dromedary Mezzanine’s ability to engage the viewer in a physically immersive experience.
“Because they require the viewer’s bodily participation, Baden’s interactive works demonstrate his interest in a physical and perceptual exchange between the viewer and the work of art," she said in an email to TSL. "I would also say, very simply, that it is more rare than not to be able to interact with an artwork in a museum setting.”
Baden served as an assistant professor and the acting chair of the Pomona art department from 1968 to 1971.