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Spectators, 2014

Museum of Modern Art

Created by artist Stephanie Diamond and child psychiatrist Tamara Vanderwal, Spectators transforms the concept of a two-way mirror into a portable handheld object. Spectators uses mirrors and windows folded within a pamphlet-like object to alter the viewer's perspective and self-awareness. Inspired by Lygia Clark’s focus on maintaining a sense of self-awareness even during powerful and overwhelming experiences, Spectators provides a direct method for self-referencing while actively looking at something or someone else. Based on the principle that using an object changes it’s meaning, visitors were invited to take a free copy of Spectators to use it throughout MoMA and beyond.

Since they met ten years ago, Tamara and Stephanie came to realize that they each wanted the other’s career—Tamara to be an artist and Stephanie to be a psychiatrist.  This realization has led to a layering of ideas about art and psychological work. Spectators reflects their ongoing exploration of these ideas and serves as an invitation to join in the act of observing self, art, and others in slightly different ways.

Spectators is part of a commission for MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988. MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me is an interactive space that explores the intersections between art, therapeutic practice, and the ways in which we relate to objects and people through physical encounters. Taking the work of Lygia Clark as a reference point, the Studio presents a series of drop-in programs, participatory experiences, and artist-led workshops that reveal the profound resonance Clark’s work has had on contemporary artists.

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