The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM
organized by Jorge Lucero
Oct 2019 - June 2020
at Compound Yellow
THe YOURSTUFF MUSEUM
The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM is an exhibition at Compound Yellow (Oak Park, IL) where members of the general public are invited to display their personal belongings, collections, knick-knacks, and home objects in a house-museum setting. Opportunities for display of “your stuff” are available between October 2019 to June 2020. Any person who wishes to show their stuff in the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM can choose between 1 and 3 weeks to display their things. Check out our calendar to select the dates for your participation!
If you are wondering if you qualify to participate, the answer is yes! You simply need to own stuff, be willing to put it on display, and also share the story of your stuff in one way or another. The YOURSTUFF MUSUEM offers several options for how the story of your stuff can be shared and we will be happy to assist you with that aspect of your participation. Stuff can be defined as things you’ve collected, amassed unintentionally, or even made. You do not need to be an artist to show in the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM, although artists who have stuff are certainly welcome to participate.
To reserve your dates for participation in the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM contact the organizers here. If you wish to know more before contacting us, keep reading this page. What follows is an easy step-by-step method for participation in the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM and then a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
6 EASY STEPS TO SHOW YOUR STUFF AT THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM
1. AFTER YOU HAVE DECIDED WHAT DATES YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXHIBIT AT THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM, CONTACT THE MUSEUM’S DIRECTOR TO CONFIRM THE AVAILABILITY OF YOUR CHOSEN DATE AND TO GET THE PRACTICAL DETAILS ABOUT YOUR PARTICIPATION.
2. IN ANTICIPATION OF YOUR EXHIBITION YOU MUST FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOW. THIS PROCESS IS CALLED CURATING, WHICH SIMPLY STATED MEANS THAT YOU’RE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR EXHIBITION. SINCE YOU ARE COMMITTING TO SHOWING YOUR STUFF IN THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM FOR A DURATION OF 1 TO 3 WEEKS, YOU NEED TO DECIDE WHAT STUFF YOU CAN LIVE WITHOUT FOR THAT AMOUNT OF TIME.
3. ON THE FIRST DAY OF YOUR AGREED UPON EXHIBITION DATES BRING THE STUFF YOU WISH TO SHOW AND PUT IT ON DISPLAY IN THE MUSEUM. THE MUSEUM IS COMPOSED OF EIGHT WOOD AND GLASS STACKABLE SHELVES WHICH CAN BE RECONFIGURED FOR YOUR PARTICULAR EXHIBITION. THE MUSEUM ALSO HAS A TABLE WITH TEN VINTAGE DESK LAMPS THAT CAN ALSO BE RECONFIGURED TO DISPLAY BOOKS OR OTHER FLAT MATERIALS. INSTALLATION OF YOUR EXHIBITION IS SOLELY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
4. ONCE YOUR STUFF IS ON DISPLAY YOUR SHOW IS OPEN. DURING YOUR SHOW’S RUN WE ASK THAT YOU HOLD AT LEAST ONE MOMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMING RELATED TO YOUR SHOW. YOU CAN DO THIS IN WHATEVER FORMAT YOU LIKE. SEE THIS HANDOUT IF YOU’RE SCARED. DURING THE RUN OF YOUR EXHIBITION THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM CAN BE OPENED OR CLOSED AS LITTLE OR AS LONG AS YOU WISH. YOU WILL BE LENT A KEY TO THE GALLERY, WHICH YOU WILL THEN PASS ALONG TO THE NEXT PARTICIPANT. EVERY TIME YOU OPEN THE SHOW OF YOUR STUFF AT THE YOURSTUFF YOU MUST BE PRESENT. ALL OTHER EXPECTATIONS AND DETAILS FOR THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM WILL BE COVERED DURING THE INITIAL BRIEF ORIENTATION.
5. THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM DOES NOT CHARGE ANY OF ITS PARTICIPANTS TO SHOW THEIR STUFF. HOWEVER, WE WOULD LIKE EVERY PARTICIPANT TO GIFT US TWO PIECES OF DOCUMENTATION FOR OUR RECORDS. WE WOULD ASK THAT YOU GIVE US ONE PICTURE THAT DOCUMENTS EITHER YOUR SHOW OR YOUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM AND A SMALL PIECE OF WRITING WRITTEN BY YOU ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM. THIS WRITING DOESN’T NEED TO BE FANCY. IT JUST NEEDS TO TELL A BRIEF STORY OF WHAT YOU SHOWED IN THE YOURSTUFF MUSEUM AND MAYBE EVEN WHY YOU DECIDED TO SHOW THAT STUFF. THE WRITING CAN BE AS SHORT AS A PARAGRAPH.
6. ON THE LAST DAY OF YOUR AGREED UPON EXHIBITION, YOU NEED TO TAKE ALL YOUR STUFF WITH YOU AND RESTORE THE SPACE TO ITS ORIGINAL STATE. THERE IS NO STORAGE SPACE AT COMPOUND YELLOW AND YOURSTUFF SHOWS ARE BOOKED BACK TO BACK. ALTHOUGH IT IS UNLIKELY, IF YOUR EXHIBITION NEEDS AN EXTENSION PLEASE LET US KNOW WITH ENOUGH TIME TO SEE IF THERE IS ANY AVAILABILITY.
The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM offers three “how-to” handouts for participants in the museum to use as needed. The handouts each address a different aspect of how to put a show together for the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM. The handouts—which can be downloaded below as PDFs—each offer simple suggestions for the processes of (A) curating, (B) installation, and (C) educational programing for your exhibition.
(A) Curating is a museum process where an expert on a certain topic makes choices about what stuff to show (or not to show) in an exhibition. You are the curator of your stuff because you are the expert about your stuff. For more information: read our HOW TO CURATE YOUR STUFF PDF.
(B) Installation is the process a museum worker uses to arrange stuff in museum displays. This process includes choices about how to visually organize objects or documents, as well as how to adjust the lighting of your stuff and how to make informational labels for your stuff. To learn more, read our HOW TO MAKE AN INSTALLATION OF YOUR STUFF PDF.
(C) Educational programming are events, lectures, classes, workshops, tours or discussions held alongside the exhibition of the curated stuff you are showing. Educational programming usually aims to educate visitors of the exhibition in order to enrich the experience of looking at the stuff on display. Educational Programming is usually open to the public, but this can be decided on a case by case basis. For more information read our HOW TO CREATE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING FOR YOUR EXHIBITION PDF
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:
Does the stuff I want to install have to be art? No. Actually, although the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM can be looked at as an artwork in and of itself, the museum staff will give preference to shows that lean more in the direction of mere stuff that a person owns, rather than something the person created.
Can my YOURSTUFF exhibition be with other people? Yes, but the stuff has to belong to all the people in the show. So for example you may want to have a show with your family where you show the family’s collection of stuff. If two people want to show their separate arrangements of stuff we would prefer to have them use separate weeks for their exhibitions. This parameter is open to interpretation. Please consult with museum staff.
Do I have to be a formally trained museum educator to conduct my one programing event? No. As you can read in handout (C) “How to create educational programing”, this component of your exhibition can be as simple as an old-school “show and tell” and as elaborate as a class. There are no special parameters on how to hold your educational program.
Can I have more than one educational program event? Yes. Please consult with museum staff about what is possible. The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM wants to support your programming plans, but we also need to consult with our host site Compound Yellow.
Can I have some money for showing my stuff? No. The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM is a mere idea with limited means. We are providing the space, the time, and—in part—some promotional energy. No money is coming back to either The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM or Compound Yellow around this yearlong project. All the while that doesn’t mean that we—the staff of the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM—is not thinking about “currency” per se; we are just asking ourselves bigger questions about what circulates and what is worth what these days. This is a conversation we would love to have with you.
Who will take care of my stuff at the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM? Mostly you. The exhibition space at Compound Yellow—that will house the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM—will be locked at all times that you are not there. The director of Compound Yellow, Laura Shaeffer, and you will be the only people with access to the space. You will have a key. Although the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM and Compound Yellow will strive to keep all your stuff as safe as possible in an artist-run exhibition space, we cannot guarantee the absolute safety of your stuff. Please be advised that the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM and Compound Yellow cannot be held responsible for the loss, theft, or damage of your stuff. Although we are working under the expectation of community-earned trust, we want you to know that you are showing your stuff at your own risk.
What dates is The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM available for installation? There will be two “semesters” worth of available time, one in the fall and one in the spring. Slots for exhibiting your stuff will be scheduled on a first come first serve basis.
How long can the exhibition of my stuff be on display? You can reserve the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM from 1 to 3 weeks.
Will someone help me with my installation? Only the people you bring with you.
Will someone help me move my stuff in and out of the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM? Sorry. We cannot help you with this.
How much stuff do I have to show? You can show as little as 1 thing; it can even be a small thing. See tutorial (B) for some thoughts on what empty-ish galleries “say” to their visitors.
Who will give me access to The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM to install my stuff? Laura Shaeffer, the owner of Compound Yellow will give the key to the first person to show in the YOURSTUFF in October 2019. After that when an exhibitor is finishing their run at the YOURSTUFF they will be asked to arrange an exchange of the key with the next exhibitor. This will happen until June when the key will be returned to Laura. Details about your particular installation will be handled on a case by case basis by the museum staff. This information will be presented to you during the orientation process by email.
Is this art? Yes, but as loose as possible. The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM and its initiator Jorge Lucero, along with Compound Yellow and its initiator Laura Shaeffer come from art backgrounds. At the same time Jorge and Laura like other things and they frequently try to figure out how to bring those seemingly non-art interests and tasks in line with their art interests. There is a very large body of literature and art works that also do this kind of thing.
Can I have an opening or a closing for my exhibition? Yes, but please talk this over with the museum staff during the orientation process. Compound Yellow is located in a residential part of Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago; as such it is important for any event that draws a crowd to be properly supervised. Compound Yellow is used to dealing with this, so it’s not a big deal, we just want to make sure that everything that needs to be thought of, is.
When is the space open to the public? After you apply for your exhibition dates, representatives from the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM and Compound Yellow will take you through the orientation process. At that time, the terms under which you will exhibit your stuff will be discussed. This will include when the space can be opened and used. In general the simplest answer is that it is open whenever you can staff it. You are the curator, educator, and main security guard for your stuff whenever it is open, so if you can’t be there, the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM is not open.
Is my stuff for sale? The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM is not a store or a commercial gallery. That being said, it is your stuff and whatever you do with your stuff is your business.
Is there any stuff that I can’t show? Of course. Although The YOURSTUFF MUSEUM and Compound Yellow are not in the business of censoring creative expression, we do believe that some expression is put into the world with the intention of causing harm. Causing harm goes against what we are exploring with this project. If there is stuff that is deemed to be (potentially or actually) harmful by the YOURSTUFF or Compound Yellow staff, we will have a discussion with you about it. We are confident that a resolution will be reached.
What will be done with the documentation and writing that I give to the YOURSTUFF MUSEUM staff? We don’t know exactly yet, but we will use it in a way that furthers the ideas behind the project. The most likely outcome will be a public symposium and publication. We will always credit you, your stuff, and your words. In a similar way, you may reference the project as your project in whichever way you deem to be in line with your creative and life practices. We subscribe to the principles behind the Creative Commons and believe that we improve in collaboration, rather than in competition with each other.
- Jorge Lucero