Name: Justin Luna
Why did you become a docent? As an art student, I've noticed that a lot of the public is either alienated, distrustful, or apathetic about contemporary art. In addition, all the museum tours I've attended prior to being introduced to the Wexner Center's docent program have been walking lectures, oversaturated with trivia and lacking relevance to daily life. My goal as a docent is to catalyze deeper interpretation and slow down the art-viewing experience (the average time museum-goers spend on a work of art is 10-15 seconds!). The more time one invests in scrutinizing what can be seen, the more intimate and poignant artwork can be.
Read on to learn more about Justin.
Why do you like being a docent? I like fostering thought by allowing my groups to describe what they see - description is a natural beginning to interpretation, even down to the choice of adjective each visitor uses to identify what he/she sees. When several people in a group start debating possible meanings amongst themselves, I know I've done my job well.
What have you learned? The art viewing (as opposed to merely art-glancing) process progresses at different rates for different age groups and levels of familiarity - I've learned to become patient in allowing the process to simmer, and hopefully, boil.
Any memorable groups? With an incoming freshman orientation group, I spent half of our short time together focusing on one Robert Beck photograph. The start of the process was awkwardly silent, but many students opened up and excavated details and subject matter that I had never noticed before... Eventually, we started talking about how photographs play many roles in our lives and how their own photos would be produced by the thousands during their upcoming first year.
Any other fun facts about you that you think the world should know? Photography has shaped and continues to shape the way I view and interact with the world. Someday I want to play harmonica and banjo in a Wilco tribute band. Make me a mix tape and I'll be your friend forever. If anyone is going to Pacifica/ San Francisco via automobile anytime soon, I'm down for paying a decent share of the gas bill.
Why should people come take a tour with a docent at the Wex? We won't lecture your head off - we want your honest opinions about the art that we display. And it's free! Columbus (and the Midwest) is extremely privileged to have the Wexner Center - take advantage!