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Block Art Museum exhibition invites visitors to question perception

Photograph of exhibition title panel
Peter Germonpre

In the Mind of the Beholder: An Experiment in Perception, is an exhibition curated by Aleksandra Sherman, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University. The exhibition was on view in the Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery at Northwestern University's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art from March 25 through May 4, 2014.

The exhibition is intended to test the mounting volume of scientific research that suggests that the context in which we perceive and interpret visual form shapes that visual experience. Our emotional state as well as ambient noise may may bring subjectivity to objective perception.

In the Mind of the Beholder engages the viewer in questioning their perception of photographs taken by Alan Cohen at memorial sites through the use of a walking guide and questionnaire that asks the visitor to assess and record their personal experience as part of the exhibition. While viewing the photographs, museum patrons hear an emotionally charged soundtrack. The questionnaire asks a set of simple questions that form an invitation to think about how we experience works of art.

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