In the Mind of the Beholder: An Experiment in Perception

3/25/2014 - 5/4/2014
Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery

Alan Cohen, Now (Buchenwald) 57-4, 1994, Gelatin silver print. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ann and Edwin Rothschild, 1995.49.20. © Courtesy of the artist.In the Mind of the Beholder: An Experiment in Perception, an exhibition curated by Aleksandra Sherman, doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

In the Mind of the Beholder explores how the subjective experience of viewing may be “in the eye of the beholder.” This experimental exhibition combines art with sound to emphasize the role of the environment and mood in shaping the perception of art.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the importance of context—both environmental and subjective—in shaping our visual experience. Environmental sounds, for example, have a surprising influence on how we perceive and interpret visual form. Likewise, our dynamically changing emotional states bias how we perceive and act on our surroundings. To emphasize the importance of context in art perception, visitors of this exhibition will hear an emotionally powerful soundtrack as they view Alan Cohen’s photographs taken at memorial sites. Visitors will be encouraged to reflect on and log their personal experience as part of the exhibition.

Alan Cohen, Now (Buchenwald) 57-4, 1994, Gelatin silver print. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ann and Edwin Rothschild, 1995.49.20. © Courtesy of the artist.