Modern art exhibition ideas

Rubik's cubism, snail art, contemporary mime and more art inspiration

The Knowledge

9. Talking point
Our first exhibition idea requires 500 first generation iPhones to be suspended from the ceiling on fishing wire of varying lengths. Using a text-to-speech app, they’ll automatically read out the Tweets of the 500 most-followed celebrities on Twitter. The cacophonous din and jungle-like density of the hanging phones are meant as a commentary on distorting facts via celebrity culture.

8. Is I Tart?

The installation should be spread across three rooms of a large gallery and, on first glance, will look like a rural agricultural show’s baking competition. Pies and fruit tarts of different shapes and sizes must be lined up on pristine white tables, but instead of crusts, each is topped with a reflective sheen. Seeing their own face reflected and distorted back at them, the viewer will be forced to confront their role in the environmental destruction caused by over-farming.

7. Another Renaissance
This exhibition will take great technical ability. But rather than oil-on-canvas depictions of royalty and muses, these works will be presented on giant tablet computers and made with paint software. The portraits will all be of viral video sensations such as singing dinner lady lookalike Susan Boyle, Grumpy Cat and Gangnam Style’s Psy. The work is meant to question who holds the real power in modern society.

6. Tax(idermy) reanimated
What starts out as cute takes on a macabre tone when you look more closely. Actual mouse corpses will be preserved and stuffed by a taxidermist. Half the animals will then be dressed up as popular cartoon mice, while the other half will be made to look like dictators from throughout history. The aim of this show is to make viewer aware that they are at once the cat and the mouse in the scene and are forced to question their own role in today’s world.

5. Flower power
We wish this could be as simple as a room with a few pretty drawings of flowers. But galleries don’t want that. So instead this exhibition will make a statement with all the drawings made with oil. Not oil paints, but actual refined oil. Black flowers against white backgrounds is always moving, right?

4. Never mind the molluscs/Pollocks
This multimedia installation will combine Jackson Pollock-style splatterings with the first-ever live symphony made only by snails. High-definition microphones will pick up the sound made by the movement of the molluscs across a canvas, smearing paint as they go.

3. Rubik’s Cubism
Just as Cubism broke down perspective and demanded the beholder see things in a different light, this interactive display will provide an opportunity to see things from another angle. A lifesize Donald Trump made entirely from Rubik’s Cubes will invite the viewer to interact with the sculpture. By twisting and turning the coloured squares on the display, visitors will be encouraged to confront their own perceptions of politics.

2. Mime and music

For a gallery seeking a more avant-garde exhibition, this performance art piece will make big noises. Performed by an award-winning mime artist, it will combine a playful sense of theatre. The artist will act out governmental climate change reports from the past 30 years, while dressed as a panda. The aim of the show will be to get kids more interested in art, and inform us all of the perils of carbon dioxide emissions.

1. Pop art
Two thousand brightly coloured balloons will be squeezed into a room. Each one will have the name and face of either a reality television star or a Nobel Prize winner emblazoned across it. To progress through the room, the visitor must pop balloons to
reach a far door. Struggling to choose who to pop, a strong sense of claustrophobia and helplessness will be created through this installation.

Will Milner is a regular contributor. He cannot draw.

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