The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA opened their much-anticipated PlayTime exhibit this weekend. 40 works by 17 of the most talented contemporary artists in the world invite visitors to contemplate the question: how is play changing our lives?
The exhibit features large-scale installations, sculpture, photographs, video, and tactile interactives including everyday items.
“Off-the-shelf objects are made for one purpose and one purpose only, and that’s the only life they’re ever going to have,” Trevor Smith, curator of the exhibit, told Boston Magazine. “But in the eyes of the artist, they find new potential, new possibilities, a new way of looking at it.”
Lara Favaretto's mesmerizing sculpture, “Simple Couples,” utilizes seven pairs of ordinary car-wash brushes. When still, they are rather unimpressive, but when set to spinning by the viewer, they become a blur of color and rhythm.
Other interactive pieces include Martin Creed’s room full of pink balloons that dares visitors not to have fun; and Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures, which encourage visitors to pose with everyday objects, becoming a work of art themselves.
Although the exhibit just opened on February 10, the website went up in October to "explore the shifting role of play in art and culture with leading writers, thinkers, game designers, poets, artists—and you."
"Play is very much about empowering ourselves and creating a zone in which you are empowered,” Smith says. “Play is no longer removed from the realm of productivity, and it’s no longer radical to be working at play.”
PlayTime will remain open until May 6, 2018. Learn more about the exhibit and the artists it will showcase at Playtime.PEM.org.