Ben Young, sculptor from New Zealand. Photography © Jane Keam
1.In your opinion what is the role of a museum?
The role of a museum is to curate and exhibit inspiring and educational shows that showcase ground breaking ideas, challenge us as viewers all while making it accessible to everyone.
2.What are your favorite museums in the world? Why?
Some of my favourites that I have been lucky enough to visit would have to be: the Tate Modern in London, the Contemporary Museum of Art in Chicago, the Young Museum in San Fransisco, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the MoMA in NYC. All of these have the most incredible collections but the exhibits that were on when we were visiting were mind blowing.
I got to see David Bowie costumes, Keith Haring paintings, Anish Kapoor and many other awe inspiring artists through the decades. We are also lucky enough to have Te Papa in New Zealand which always has incredible exhibits in collaboration with Weta Studios.
3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.
It definitely plays an important part in being able to share my work with people all over the world. I prefer Instagram as it is a visual platform; my following has grown very organically so I feel that the people on there are genuine followers and interested in what I have to share.
In saying that I’m not a prolific sharer and will go for weeks at a time with no posts and only share content I feel is relevant.
4.In particular, due to the coronavirus emergency, how have you changed your business on social networks?
I am lucky enough to be living in New Zealand so there has only a month or so where we were in full lockdown. I haven’t had to change to much of what I do as it is business as usual here.
I feel lucky to have the social networks though as I have been preparing for an overseas show where I know the gallery will have to have a lot of it virtual and using these social networks will be vital to the success of the show when you can’t rely on foot traffic people physically seeing the work due to corona constraints.
5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?
Keep the content visually engaging or create a competition that inspires and engages artists around the world that will get shared and spread the message so that it reaches more and more people.
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist
Ben Young is a self-taught artist who has been making glass sculptures for over 15 years. Surfer and builder of boats, he is “the artist of the sea” and finds inspiration in the Bay of Plenty, in the North of Island, where by hand he draws, cuts and creates float glass sheets for his works.
The artist works with different materials, such as concrete and wax that he carves to find the right shape for his landscape which he then places on steel. Each of his works is an illusion of space and movement, which are completed with the power of light. Young lives and works in Mount Maunganui.