Explore a physical boundary. | Zarouhie Abdalian | The Art Assignment | Summary and Q&A

June 11, 2015
The Art Assignment
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Explore a physical boundary. | Zarouhie Abdalian | The Art Assignment


Explore the work of artist Zarouhie Abdalian, whose minimal interventions in spaces alter the viewers' experiences and perceptions.

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Key Insights

  • 👾 Zarouhie Abdalian's work is characterized by subtle interventions that alter the viewers' experiences of a space.
  • 🥰 She intentionally uses unremarkable materials and features to bridge the gap between art and everyday life.
  • 🛰️ Abdalian's interventions prompt viewers to question the boundaries and forces that shape their experiences of art and spaces.
  • 👾 Her work can occur within physical spaces, such as windows or plazas, or within objects like boxes.
  • 🥰 Abdalian's art encourages viewers to engage in processes of learning and critical thinking.
  • 🫥 The use of minimal and invisible interventions challenges the traditional notion of what constitutes an artwork.
  • 👾 By altering spaces, Abdalian highlights the tensions and contested relationships within them.


[THEME MUSIC] We are at the Exploratorium today in San Francisco, a fantastic museum of science, art, and human perception. They have an Artist-in-Residence program that brings in all sorts of creative minds to develop projects for the broad public that visits here. One of those residents is Zarouhie Abdalian, who's originally from New Orleans, but... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Zarouhie Abdalian alter spaces through her artworks?

Zarouhie Abdalian alters spaces by making subtle interventions that change the viewers' experiences. Through the use of materials like mylar, bells, and mirrors, she creates shifts in perception and interaction with the space.

Q: What is the purpose of using unremarkable materials in Abdalian's work?

By using unremarkable materials, Abdalian ensures that her artwork doesn't feel disconnected from everyday experiences. It allows viewers to engage with the work on a more relatable level and bridges the gap between art and daily life.

Q: How does Abdalian's artwork at the Exploratorium engage visitors in processes of learning?

The Exploratorium is a place where visitors are invited to engage in learning processes, and Abdalian's work aligns with this philosophy. By altering spaces and highlighting boundaries, she encourages viewers to think critically about their surroundings and the relationship between spaces.

Q: Can you give an example of how Abdalian's work alters a viewer's experience?

One example is Abdalian's installation at the New Orleans African American Museum, where she used mirrored surfaces and the sound of voices. This intervention created a disorienting effect, blurring the line between reality and reflection and challenging the viewer's perception of the space.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Zarouhie Abdalian is an artist-in-residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, known for her minimal and almost invisible interventions in spaces.

  • Her work involves altering the relationship between a given space and the people that interact with it, often using unremarkable materials or features.

  • Examples of her work include a window with quivering mylar, a vacuum-sealed cube with a ringing bell, and installations with mirrored surfaces and the sound of voices.

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