Ghosts of a Chance

Ghosts of a Chance: A Touch of Gold (Necklace of the Subaltern Betrayer)

Ghosts of a Chance: A Touch of Gold (Necklace of the Subaltern Betrayer), Ghosts of a Chance contributor, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2008.GOAC.1.2

September 18, 2008

Georgina Bath is the Interpretive Programs Manager for the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, our visible storage facility. Earlier this month the Luce Foundation Center launched Ghosts of a Chance, a creative initiative that calls for audience participation on a grand scale. We asked her to fill us in on the latest.

It all started when these two extremely enthusiastic young students approached me a few weeks ago about working for the Museum. Daisy Fortunis and Daniel Libbe had dreamed up this idea for an exhibition titled “Ghosts of a Chance” and they thought the Luce Foundation Center would be the ideal place to host it. As if that wasn’t enough, they wanted to invite the general public to create the artifacts to be included in the show! Well, this was certainly a first for us, but I definitely thought it had potential. Armed with some strict guidelines from me about how to manage the artifacts that people would be mailing in, Daniel and Daisy forged ahead to put together the details. The project launched on September 8, and we’ve already received a few wonderful submissions! Here, Daisy and Daniel talk about one of their favorites so far . . .

"We have been honored this week to receive some wonderful creations from Ghosts of a Chance participants. Opening each box or envelope as it arrived has been a delight, as we unfold the tissue paper to see the treasure that lies within. Honestly, we have been blown away with the creativity and talent revealed by these artifacts! Our favorite so far is A Touch of Gold by Alyson Olander. Olander responded to the challenge of The Necklace of the Subaltern Betrayer by illustrating a necklace "lying haphazardly atop" a pile of clothing. The decadent colors and rich embroidery truly evoke an elegant choker cast aside by its wearer. We have to wonder . . . who was she? Also, this particular necklace inspired Daniel to have another telling dream, which you will find on his MySpace page. Again, thank you. Daisy Fortunis and Daniel Libbe"

If you want to participate, see for details! Artifacts will be on view in the Museum on October 25, and selected ones will be entered into our online collection.


Recent Posts

Detail of Phoebe Kline. She is sitting in front of orchids and smiling.
Docent Phoebe Kline began at SAAM in 1974 and she's still going strong
A photograph of a woman in front of artwork
More visitors and new exhibitions highlight a season of change.
 Stephanie Stebich, SAAM's Margaret and Terry Stent Direction in the museum's Lincoln Gallery. Photo by Gene Young. 
Stephanie Stebich
The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
Marian Anderson and symbols that surround her life
William H. Johnson portrayed the singer in multiple paintings, including in his Fighters for Freedom series.