By Melissa Mitchell It's not everybody who gets the opportunity to "play" with the collection of an art museum. In a sense, that's what the staff at the UI's Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion invited faculty artists Barbara Kendrick and Sarah Krepp to do. In separate but related installations jointly titled "But Can You See It," the artists have appropriated art from the museum's permanent collection and presented it in new - and often surprising - contexts that force viewers to re-examine, reconsider and question the meaning and content of the works. "Perception and the persistence of memory are the major themes" that both artists explore, said Maarten van de Guchte, the museum's assistant to the director who helped prepare a brochure that includes a map to help visitors locate and interpret the installations. Similar installations, in which "artists have critically and creatively re-examined and re-arranged collections, objects and collecting attitudes," have been organized at museums throughout the world, including the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, van de Guchte said. The Kendrick/Krepp show is a first for the UI museum. The map is necessary because the installations, in effect, seem to spontaneously erupt in various galleries throughout the museum. Kendrick's show is contained in a lower-level gallery, but Krepp's takes viewers on a long, strange trip through the halls of art history and the main-level galleries of the museum. Krepp's treasure-hunt-like tour begins at the entrance of the Kinkead Pavilion, where her installation forces visitors to ponder the placement of Lorado Taft's massive sculptural group "The Blind." Krepp said she was motivated to create a response to it when she was struck by the irony of placing a piece with that title at the entrance to a museum of visual art. "That tickled me, and I thought, 'What can I do with this?' " she said. Her response was to create "Eye See," a grouping of well-known pairs of eyes from art history. Krepp strategically placed the ocular art - by Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Piccasso and others - on the wall adjacent to "The Blind." Throughout her installation, Krepp uses the museum as a "found object" in which she "disrupts the order of things to cause a new kind of energy that will be more exciting and more human in a certain way - and not so predictable." At the same time, Krepp has a good deal of fun. From the addition of actual trees in the "Trees Gallery" - named for major donors to the museum - to the reconstruction or "re-membering" of a painting that formerly hung in the museum's Medieval Gallery, Krepp shares countless visual puns with viewers. And at every turn, she tests their memory and challenges conventional wisdom. "I'm trying to interrupt the usual viewing" she said. By doing so, she hopes "the work will make the viewer conscious of herself or himself - her or his own prejudice - and perhaps disrupt a certain historical, social, intellectual order of things so the work will cause the viewer to think." Kendrick also hopes her installation will cause people's brains to work overtime, even long after they've left the gallery. "I'm interested in people having an experience with something that they know from their everyday life: hair. Maybe as you comb your own hair or shave your face, that will trigger a remembrance of something that you saw in the gallery," Kendrick said. When such a connection occurs, "the museum experience is not confined then to the museum but it's taken out into the world. It has some resonance in your own life." In her installation, Kendrick juxtaposes familiar visual images from the museum's collection - including Andy Warhol's psychedelic-colored print of Marilyn Monroe, Thomas Gainsborough's 18th-century portrait of a big-haired woman, and an African mask with center-parted, 1960s-style hair - with her own "hair pieces." Kendrick's tableaux recall various fairy tales and legends - from Rapunzel to Lady Godiva - as well as the countless "customs, rituals, superstitions and morality tied to hair," she said. The genesis of Kendrick's idea to focus an exhibition solely on hair is rooted in her somewhat creepy, estate-sale discovery of a bag of red braids - made from human hair. "Being both moved and somehow horrified by this, I became very attracted to it and wanted to use it in my work," she said, adding that "it took me a long time before I was able to. "Hair, for me, is a survivor - a part of the body that outlasts flesh. I am intrigued at how our experience of hair changes once it 'leaves' the body. What we find beautiful or attractive on our head or other heads, we are repulsed by when we find it elsewhere, say on the soap, or the sink or in our soup." And, she said, throughout history, hair has always been a "loaded" issue. "For instance, how people wear their hair is a social, political statement." In 17th-century England, cultured men wouldn't dare be seen in public without their powdered wigs; today, men with ponytails and women with furry legs express themselves politically and culturally, using hair as the medium for their messages, Kendrick said.