Avi takes two views on everything, including the People’s Guide itself

The top portion of the writing prompt, "Can You Describe One Work Two Ways"?
A detail of a writing prompt for the People’s Guide.

Brian: So what do you think about The People’s Guide to the Queens International?

Avi: I like that the heading of this form says: “Can You Describe One Work Two Ways?” I spend most of my time as a teacher getting people to realize that there are multiple ways of entering a work or engaging with it. And I really like that from the start with this form, you’re introduced to the idea that you can open up the space and talk about it. It seems like a dialogic process, like something you can discuss with a friend, and that’s a wonderful way to bring people into art.

Brian: OK, you described it one way. Now describe it another way.

Avi: I think that the risk with this is that a lot of people will do what I did, which is pick the form up, put in in their back pocket, take it home and think, “that was a really nice thing,” but not engage with it.  So the question is, how do you move from this question of describing one work two ways to actually getting people to do it? Instead of just thinking it’s really nice.

Brian: One of my solutions was to bring a tape recorder to the gallery and walk up to people and ask them what they think of the show. Do you think that’s effective?

Avi: Well, I can answer that in two ways. On the one hand, it’s very effective as my speaking here is proving. On the other hand, you still wind up with a somewhat limited sample of the people who saw the show. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a pretty good solution because everyone likes talking into little microphones. How often do you get to do that?

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