mattress factory X miller gallery
~Greer lankton~

Exhibit design fit to the Carnegie Mellon University Miller Gallery displaying the work of a featured artist from the Mattress Factory, a Pittsburgh art museum. The goal of the design was to create an engaging on-campus pop-up exhibit that encourages visitation to the full-size off-campus Mattress Factory site. The design was done through a variety of 2D and 3D methods such as storyboarding, elevations, parti diagrams, photoshopped visuals and to-scale models.

Photoshopped visuals of the entry way (first image)
and exhibit space (second image)

Greer Lankton

The Mattress Factory artist I chose to feature was Greer Lankton, a doll maker who's work focussed on themes of gender, sexuality, body image, drug abuse, and fashion. Bullied and harassed as a young boy with an interest in dolls and art, Lankton constantly explored the idea of "the outcast" through her work. In 1979 Lankton changed her name and underwent sexual reassignment surgery at the age of 21 while attended Pratt Institute. 

Mood board created while brainstorming
(top right and bottom left corners feature Lankton/her work)


analysis and concept development

Due to the fact that Lankton's art tackles such serious themes, I felt extra precaution needed to be taken to genuinely reflect the original work. I wanted to avoid making something so user-based that it neglected the heavy personal experience Lankton drew from. Whether it be painful or quirky, relatable or not relatable, to me her art felt like a direct expression of her own experiences, and it would be a disservice to take that power out of her work.

With this in mind, I chose a "display and highlight" approach in which three pieces would be showcased and large, ornately framed portraits on Lankton would cover the walls. I also want to incorporate an interactive source of lighting (a subtle user interaction that would tie back to aspects of her larger creations) and eccentric wall color (creating an immersive effect to play up the personality of her pieces).

SketchUp Model of the Miller Gallery exhibit space
created after taking measurements

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 9.01.56 PM.png

Parti diagram of ideal route through exhibit


3D Model of design for Miller gallery pop-up exhibit


Hanging Light interaction

As a subtle user interaction, hanging blue LED bulbs would be strung from the ceiling of the exhibit space. While acting as a guide/pathway due to their layout, they will also provide an eerie yet whimsical ambiance much like the aesthetic of Lankton's art. The colored lights act as an homage to the string lights involved in some of her larger environmental works (multiple storefronts, her piece It's all about ME, not You) while simultaneously allowing users a tangible experiential aspect.

In the physical model I represented the hanging bulbs with wire and hot glue. to make the "bulb" I gently swirled water around in an old bottle while squirting in small globs of hot glue. After they took shape in the water i removed the glue balls and used a thumb tack to create and initial puncture through the center. After the initial puncture I threaded a thin metal wire through the glue and attached the newly form "light" to a clear plastic sheet I had cut to fit my to-scale model.


elevations and labeled guide


Full Process documentation