There's weird behavior going on at New Britain Museum of American Art: People insulting each other, lying on the floor under artworks, grabbing other artworks and spinning them around.
It's all Bob Gregson's doing. Gregson's exhibit, "Space to Maneuver," aims to make a museum visitor part of the artwork. Acrylic-on-board paintings are attached to wall-mounted spindles, so visitors who don't like how the neoplastic designs are hanging can flip them around until they're satisfied.
Gregson, creative director of the Connecticut Office of Culture and Tourism, also created "Turning the Table," a colorful, perforated, spinning artwork mounted on the tabletop, with rows of flashing lights undeneath. Visitors lie under the table and watch the shifting shapes, colors and lights.
The NEW/NOW gallery is dominated by "At Every Turn," a clutch of turnstiles with words on the arms that can be read a variety of ways: "I must ... behave." "I must ... try." "I hate to ... beg." "I hate to ... console."
The most fun is in the lobby, where the "Bicker Booth" is a booth in which two people stand, flipping Rolodexes full of insults. "What's the excuse this time," "We both know that it's hopeless," "If people don't like me, too bad," "I don't know why I put up with you," "You're weirding me out."
Gregson, of Orange, said he wants strangers to interact in unexpected ways. "We have all these rules ... all these social contracts that we make up. We obey these rules. I come along and tweak them a little," he said. "I don't want to subvert the rules with something that sounds angry. The pieces are approachable and friendly. They're not going to hurt you."
"BOB GREGSON: SPACE TO MANEUVER" will be at New Britain Museum of American Art, 56 Lexington St., until Oct. 26. www.nbmaa.org.Copyright © 2015, CT Now