Curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist has done it all. He’s organized exhibitions just about everywhere under the moon, and now he’s curating a tiny exhibition at the virtual gallery Water McBeer, a 300 square inch space run by artist Henry Gunderson that’s accessible only through the gallery’s website. For the upcoming exhibition, Obrist will revive a version of his Nano Museum, an exhibition space hosted on a 2 x 3 inch picture frame. That original museum went missing in the 1990s, lost in a bar by artist Douglas Gordon.
While Water McBeer’s shows can be seen online only, the puppy-sized gallery is “just as real and functional as any other gallery space,” Gunderson told me. Begun just over three years ago, curators and artists exhibit miniature work in the 300 square inch space; Gunderson then photographs the exhibition space to appear life-sized for the web, and includes details right down to Photoshopped visitors at a fake opening.
Based on Obrist’s description of the original Nano Museum, the museum seems like a perfect fit for an online exhibition. He began the museum in the 1990s, wanting a free and “portable museum” that could “host exhibitions anywhere.” That definitely sounds like a web-based museum. This time, with an online iteration, we doubt the Nano Museum will be lost in a bar.