Aesop and the Scavenger Hunt
October 17, 2012
The Luce Foundation Center has been organizing scavenger hunts throughout the space since we reopened after our renovation in 2006. Over twenty thousand people have searched our open storage for those elusive objects. It's one of the special ways visitors can experience our collection.
Each scavenger hunt has a different theme, from funny faces to objects in hands (you can see some of our hunts on our website). But this fall we decided to mix things up and asked local artist Cory Oberndorfer to create a hunt. We recently chatted with Oberndorfer about his cleverly designed scavenger hunt and the awesome buttons that are prizes for finishing the hunt.
Eye Level: A lot of your work revolves around sweets and popular culture. What made you decide to create a scavenger hunt around ancient Greek fables?
Cory Oberndorfer: My childhood memories influence most of my art. I started noticing how many animals there are in the works of the Luce collection and it reminded me of Greek fables I heard when I was little. Of course, my knowledge of fables came from Bugs Bunny and Rocky & Bullwinkle, but I later learned of Aesop.
EL: Was there anything about making the Luce scavenger hunt that appealed to you as both an artist and a museum visitor?
CO: I really don't need an excuse to explore the works in the museum, but it's always great to share works that fascinate me. It was also fun to make a game of the experience.
EL: I found an interview where you say you come to American Art often. Has designing the scavenger hunt changed how you look at the works in the museum or the Luce Center?
CO: I have a tendency to return to the same works that always inspire me. Designing the scavenger hunt made me look closer at pieces I often overlook. The American Art Museum has my favorite collection in D.C. and it's good to broaden my source of inspiration.
EL: Does visiting the museum help you with your own work? Where do you tend to find inspiration?
CO: When I get artist's block, a trip to the museum helps spark creativity. There are always some 20th Century paintings that have the answers I need.
EL: If you could make a fantasy scavenger hunt, what would it include?
CO: Locate and sample every treat in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory!
Oberndorfer’s hunt is available seven days a week at the Luce Center information desk, which is located on the third-floor mezzanine of the museum’s west wing. Be warned, it will make you want to reread all of Aesop’s Fables!
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