The Mills College Art Museum opened for a new season on Sept. 2,
featuring the works of New York artist Patrick Killoran.
The opening, which drew well over 100 visitors, was highlighted
by an exhibition titled “Slightly Touched,” featuring four of
Killoran’s sculpture pieces.
“I wanted to take the idea of public art to another point,” said
Killoran. “There are a lot of people that feel threatened by my
work, it’s something up for debate and there are plenty of people
who would criticize me for that.”
“Slightly Touched” could be considered an evolution of the
artist’s work. Some of Killoran’s first art pieces were T-shirts
with a hole in the center that reflect surroundings onto the
wearers’ stomachs. He also designed sweatpants, which feature an
arm sleeve stemming from the garment’s waistline.
A later piece, “Glass Outhouse”, is on display in front of the
museum. Participants can use the porta-potty facility for personal
functions and can look at their surroundings through the
However, people standing outside the portable lavatory can not
see in. In another installation, “to you!” art gallery assistants
sitting in telemarketing cubicles sing “Happy Birthday” to
unsuspecting Oakland residents whom the callers pick randomly from
Xeroxed phone books live.
“I asked him to propose a piece specifically for Mills,” said
Stephan Jost, director of the art museum who has been following
Killoran’s work for the last four years.
Killoran said, “to you!’ is a piece of art that is an idea, but
also exists as something that everyone can contribute to, the
students, the artist, even the people that were responsible for
installing the phone lines.”
Several days prior to the museum’s opening exhibition, Killoran
was on campus monitoring the piece’s progress. He attended the
opening and later that night lectured on several other works he
“Often the most generous people are those who don’t always
experience traditional art,” said Killoran. He explained that the
highest compliment he could receive for these pieces would be a
visitor who tells him, “This makes a lot of sense.”
“My artwork could be produced by anyone else. It all exists in
diagrams and plans not in a studio. There isn’t a studio that is
the point or place of production,” said Killoran, explaining works
that are currently on display. Most of his art plays on the concept
of public versus private space.
“I thought it was really interesting and a very different
perspective on art. He has a much more living-based approach. I
thought the shirts were an interesting idea,” said freshwoman
“I really dislike the fact that we don’t get to hear their
responses when we sing to them,” said freshwoman, Lillian Peterson,
“but I think that it’s a good way to stir up society.” Peterson
works as a gallery assistant at the museum and participated in “to
The Mills College Art Museum has many other notable events
ahead. Works by Elizabeth Murray and Jennifer Bartlett, two of the
most well known graduates who majored in art at Mills, will be on
display beginning Oct. 26.
The Anderson Collection will support this exhibition by
providing artworks, with the goal of showing younger Mills women
how accomplished they can become.
The Mills College Art Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays,
from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays until 7:30 p.m. On
Sundays, the works are on display from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and
on Mondays the museum remains closed to the public. Admission is