Lost Gallery is an interactive website where people can uncover and learn about art by people who are underrepresented in Western conversations about art history.
For initial research, I surveyed 21 college aged people about their initial bias about art and art history in order to validate the problem. I asked people to name 3 works of art without thinking too hard. These were my key findings:
Mona Lisa, a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist, Leonardo DaVinci, was the most commonly referenced work of art.
The only answer that featured art made by a non-white artist was a Kanye West album.
Snippet of survey results.
An interactive website where people can uncover and learn about art by people who are underrepresented in Western conversations about art history. It challenges the idea of what a gallery is and celebrates art that has been “lost.”
The collective definition of visual art is eurocentric. Art created by non-european groups are underrepresented in the collective consciousness of people in the United States.
I structured the site so that each page is titled by a question or statement that leads the experience of each activity.
Wireframing and Prototyping
Firstly, I began designing wireframes for each page to experiment with layout.
Then, as I was adjusting the layout, I started to experiment with color and typography.
Inspired by calls to decolonize institutions in the United States, for my senior thesis, I explored how we can reevaluate the things we are taught in terms of art and art history. Lost Gallery is an anti-gallery that’s accessible and engaging so users can learn about art outside beyond what they already know.
badblueprints via giphy
After presenting my final thesis project, a point of feedback I received was to consider the entry points for other types of users. To engage with Lost Gallery, the user must already have some sort of interest in art, so I must also consider, “How can I make other users feel included?” If I continue working on this project, I would think of ways to take art off of a pedestal. Lost Gallery is an anti-gallery, but for users not interested in art, the art must be presented in an even more accessible and engaging way, where it’s still educational, but feels less educational.
Then, to better inform my work, I compiled a spreadsheet of resources I could refer to as I designed and curated the site.
Research the art of the indigenous people whose land you are currently on.
Participants can start by participating in a land acknowledgement that the website will perform for them. A link is generated to encourage the user to do their own research through Google on art that’s about and made by the Indigenous people whose land they are on.
Realize how wide (or narrow) your art history knowledge is.
Then, participants can take a quiz to see how familiar they are with non-western art. Gallery plaques about the art that they didn't know about will appear so that participants can learn more about the art they weren’t familiar with.
Explore how art has been displaced around the world.
Participants can also explore how art from different cultures have been displaced around the world from their origin to a western institution. The displacement is shown on different maps that have been created in attempts to be more accurate than the popular map, which skews the true size of non-western continents.
Discover new artists based on your preferences.
Afterwards, participants are shown collectively well known pieces of Western art along with traits (in the form of hashtags) about each work. When the participants select a trait, a recommendation of another work of art by a contemporary artist of color pops up so users can expand their horizon with art they might better resonate with.
Finally, the last page encourages participants to continue decolonizing their biases about art and visual culture through further learning. The page features resources, such as podcasts, books, and teaching guides, which I’ve used to help me create this project.