Artist Daniel Arsham Helps Blind Man Enjoy His Tactile Sculpture


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A post shared by Modesto III Banzon (@odiethethiiird)

Have you ever considered what it would be like to visit an art exhibition without being able to see it? It may seem strange, but for millions of visually impaired people, this is a reality. But just because someone might not be able to see the art doesn't mean that they can't appreciate it. A recent video of artist Daniel Arsham showing Dr. Hoby Wedler, an American chemist, educator, and entrepreneur, one of his sculptures proves this. Dr. Wedler was born blind, but that does not stop him from insightful commentary on the art.

In the video, we see Arsham at his new exhibition in Venice, leading Dr. Wedler toward one of his signature sculptures. The artist takes Dr. Wedler's hands and guides them up the sculpture from the base. Known as a tactile tour, this is a common practice in museums and galleries when visually impaired visitors wish to enjoy the artwork.

As Arsham begins to explain the sculpture—which is from a series of pieces based on Star Wars—Dr. Wedler's enthusiasm is palpable. As with much of Arsham's work, there are crystals incorporated into the figure. Dr. Wedler inquisitively asks what the stones are and then astutely mentions how he realized that they were quartz from the texture.

Arsham does a wonderful job of giving information but also leaving Dr. Wedler to discover the piece for himself. He moves Dr. Wedler's hands up the bust and asks him if he understands what it shows. Dr. Wedler correctly identifies that it appears to be human, and then Arsham lets him know that it's a Stormtrooper.

The men then continue with a discussion on how the crystals are incorporated and sourced before moving on to “view” another part of the exhibition. The video is a wonderful reminder that there is more than one way to enjoy art.

It is also an important reminder that anyone with a visual impairment should contact a museum or gallery before visiting to inquire about whether or not they lead tactile tours. More places than you may realize offer this opportunity, including the Vatican Museums, MoMA, and the British Museum. All it takes is a bit of advanced planning. Some museums even have 3D versions of their paintings for those with visual impairments.

Artist Daniel Arsham recently opened an exhibition in Venice.


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A post shared by ARSHAM STUDIO (@danielarsham)

The artist was able to help his friend, Dr. Hoby Wedler, who is blind, enjoy the artwork by giving him a tactile tour.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ARSHAM STUDIO (@danielarsham)

Daniel Arsham: Website | Instagram
Dr. Hoby Wedler: Website | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok
h/t: [Reddit]

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Art Museums Are Creating 3D Versions of Paintings for Visually Impaired People To Touch

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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