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Art for the Eyes and Ears: Melissa Stern’s “The Talking Cure” in New York

An intriguing multimedia exhibit fuses sculpture, original literature, and smartphone technology at the Smart Clothes Gallery

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On November 8, The Talking Cure—a unique, dynamic art exhibit—opened at the Smart Clothes Gallery in New York City. With a title taken from Sigmund Freud’s description of psychoanalysis, Cure contains 12 original sculptures by Chelsea artist Melissa Stern. They come with a very innovative and creative twist: Each sculpture is accompanied by an audio track, a piece specifically written for the figure (or group of figures) by a poet, novelist, screenwriter or playwright which serves as the sculpture’s inner voice. (A cast of actors read the tracks.) When a gallerygoer points his or her smartphone at the QR tag on each sculpture, the audio track plays. 

“I have long been fascinated by what goes on in people’s minds when they look at art,” Stern explained. “And in this project we will have a chance to hear what others think goes on in the minds of these sculptural ‘people.'”

Taking the interactivity of the exhibit one step further, visitors can also record their own monologues for the sculptures, which others will then be able to listen to. The exhibit also includes 12 drawings by Stern, which she sees as the “dreams” that accompany the sculptures.The founder of the gallery describes the show as “part theater, part technology, and part sculpture”. We’d add one more phrase to the list: “wholly original.” 

Click here to see some of the sculptures and drawings; The Talking Cure is on view until the end of the year.