WHAT IF? children’s space


In What IF? a three-year interactive exhibit for children at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Jesse Lee Wilson created a multi-sensory playground as a point of entry to experiencing art. Two paintings from the permanent collection were selected as inspiration for the exhibit: Matt Mullican’s Untitled red and Untitled yellow, 1992, which refer to a world filled with information presented through symbols, signs and graphics. Wilson swerved from this starting point by creating a journey of many options, peppered with images from works throughout the museum, with little to no text that explained how to navigate it. As children and intrigued adults explored this playground of the most rudimentary forms of communication, it prepared them to explore the rest of the museum with a sense of play, embodiment, and imagination.




Matt Mulican 1992