Teen Museum Studies


Teen Museum Studies presents SMELLS LIKE CONTENT, a new, site-specific multi-media exhibition by Cole Lu, on view July 31 through November 1, 2015, in CAM’s Education Gallery.

SMELLS LIKE CONTENT is an exhibition curated by a select group of high school students participating in CAM’s Teen Museum Studies program. Now in its sixth year, this innovative program gives teens unique access to the inner workings of a museum. During the six-week program, students work closely with CAM staff to learn all aspects of museum administration—from curating to public relations to accounting. For the culminating exhibition, students curate a solo show of an emerging local artist. The teens handle all aspects of the exhibition, including reviewing artists’ proposals, participating in studio visits, selecting the winning artist, and assisting with the work’s installation. Students who successfully complete the program receive a paid stipend.

This year’s students selected artist Cole Lu, a multi-media artist who will create an installation that features painting, video, and sculpture. Teens found Lu’s work, which deals with social media and modes of contemporary communication, topical, poignant, and compelling. Acting as a bridge between the objects in the exhibition, Lu’s video features a mixture of sourced footage from the internet while a performer, whose hands are covered in paint, invokes the movements of American Sign Language to play the theremin, an electronic musical instrument activated by motion. Using multiple communication platforms, Lu’s work speaks to how meaning is constructed and destructed in today’s digital climate. SMELLS LIKE CONTENT is a site-specific installation made specifically for Teen Museum Studies.

Cole Lu (b. 1984, Taoyuan, Taiwan) received her MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Ming Chuan University (Taipei, Taiwan) and associate’s degree in Japanese from Jinwen University (Taipei, Taiwan). From the start of her career, Lu has worked simultaneously as artist and curator. She is known for her varied, multimedia practice, which articulates the subject of a contemporary, fragmented identity. She uses text, photography, sculpture, and video to explore the complex layers of what is lost in the era of digital communication. She is the assistant director at the Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts in St. Louis.

Cole Lu: SMELLS LIKE CONTENT is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by the Teen Museum Studies class of 2015 and Tuan Nguyen, Director of Education.


Audio Guide