The Leland Stanford Junior Museum is unlike any other local art gallery I have been to. Walking in, I was in awe of the ornate, Greek-inspired architecture and the marble statues sitting on the lawn around the gallery. The inside is as beautiful as the outside, with tall ceilings and long marble staircases leading to the exhibits on the upper levels.
There are numerous exhibits to explore, including African art, Asian art, early European art, and more. Founded by the Stanford family, the museum includes galleries with background information about the Stanfords and the founding of the gallery.
The most fascinating aspect of the museum was the temporary exhibitions where the museum gives a spotlight to various artists with different mediums
One of these exhibitions, “The Spaces in Between,” is by Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh, who created a chandelier, wallpaper, and decorative screen to address issues of migration and transnational identity. This work is personal to Suh as he came to the United States from Korea when he was young, and his artwork questions cultural differences between Korea, the U.S., and Europe. The wallpaper includes minuscule yearbook portraits of students at his high school, representing his childhood and the estrangement he felt as
Suh also created a decorative screen made of images of hundreds of colorful people, forming a spatial partition that represents a sense of togetherness as well as the individual. Suh’s chandelier is composed of similar colorful figures who carry each other on their shoulders, symbolizing the weight of our pasts. This exhibit was fascinating because of the multitude of colors and careful attention to detail, and it is definitely a must-see.
Another temporary featured exhibit was “BLKNWS” by filmmaker Khalil Joseph, an exhibit which included two-channel broadcasts including elements of art, journalism, entrepreneurship, and cultural critique. BLKNWS is creating a discussion around the Stanford campus. Faculty members, students, and experts across disciplines question the meaning of this art piece: is it an artwork? A business? A teaching opportunity?
The piece also uncovers atypical forms of expression for art and the media. Joseph conveys his message regarding race with hanging screens showing broadcasts, and a picture of stoic nuns of different races represents the unity of all people of different colors. Overall, Joseph indicates through artform that he wants people to keep talking about these ongoing race issues and bring light to them in different ways.
The Leland Stanford Junior Museum has many interesting exhibitions, and we are lucky to have such an innovative and engaging art gallery near us. Even if museums are not your thing, the numerous exhibits offer something for everyone.