It’s always amusing to me to see how people interact with art in the gallery space. Some stand and stare, others move around, and then there are the strange cases. At Clark’s recent senior studio art thesis opening, I took some shots of some interesting interactions. See for yourself…
Tag Archives: gallery
When a new exhibit opens in the Schiltkamp Gallery in the Traina, it’s hard to imagine it in relation to the outside art world – as something more than a space outside classrooms that happens to be a gallery. It’s hard to imagine someone from the greater community visiting our campus and not thinking of the Traina as a building for students, but exclusively as a building in which to enjoy art.
Recently, I had the opportunity to have such an experience at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA. It’s not fair to compare their museum with our quaint Traina Center, but it does invite one to imagine what other schools are doing with their arts programs.
According to their website, the school’s museum has an impressive 13,000 pieces and 14 galleries. Their collection spans many periods and places, including Egypt, India, and Africa. One of their exhibits, A Collection of Histories, takes on a meta-commentary concerning museum art, making the venue of viewing art its focus. There is also more contemporary work including photography and works by Georgia O’Keefe and Gregory Crewdson, among others.
The architecture of the museum itself was also noteworthy. Upon entering, a large display of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #959 runs along the staircase, and windows and skylights appear throughout the galleries. Outside, the surrounding landscape has also been dotted with art. Louise Bourgeois’s outdoor sculpture, Eyes, watch as you approach the building. It is a permanent piece commissioned for the museum’s 75th anniversary, celebrated in October 2001.
Another piece on display at the Williams College Museum of Art was a stunning photomanipulation by Dionisio Gonzalez. The artist took photos of the dilapidated structures and homes of Sao Paulo and Río de Janeiro and pieced them together with disjointed, modern architecture, creating a very odd and perplexing environment that combines clean futuristic facades with decaying shanties. The whole series of panoramic shots is titled Cartografías para a remoçao. For more about his work, visit http://www.dionisiogonzalez.es/.
To see more about the various exhibits and collections at Williams College Museum of Art, visit http://wcma.williams.edu/.
Mass MoCA’s nod to an artist who sometimes never touched his own work
For something so subjective, art has always been a highly debated topic. What constitutes art? How much does artist’s intent affect the work? Is the medium really the message?
For modern artists in the mid to late twentieth century, these questions continued to be stretched. Artists such as Warhol and Pollack tested the boundaries of what was considered art. Their replications of commercial symbols and seemingly haphazard flecks of paint would continue to spark debates for decades, leaving questions still unanswered.
Sol LeWitt was another artist to push the definition of art. His work is a complex geometric system. Bold lines, streaks, perforated waves, shapes, circumlunar patterns, points, and arcs all spread across the wall of the rehabilitated mill factor at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Some of the pieces are brightly colored blocks, some are in grayscale, and others resemble an extreme close up of a piece of graph paper used in a high school geometry class. Often simple in their appearance, it’s not until one beings to think about the system behind the art that the meaning comes off the wall.
Early in his career, LeWitt likened his art to musical or chorographical compositions; individuals, ensembles, or orchestras carry out the original material after it is designed and written. LeWitt took this concept and applied it to his work, allowing other artists to take his compositions and play.
Mass MoCA’s exhibit, Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, features 105 of LeWitt’s designed walls, executed by The pieces fill the 27,000-square-foot interior with screaming stripes and dynamic pairs of color that push the latex paint, India ink, acrylic, and water colors off the wall. Other wall drawings appear less finished and have been sketched with graphite.
These concepts beg the question of ownership. Although dozens of “executers” (as titled in the exhibit’s pamphlet) were involved in making the art on the walls of the museum, Sol LeWitt’s name is still the only one associated with them. They are his designs. Despite the fact that the original artist was giving up his idea, where does the execution come into play? When does it become the art of a specific individual? LeWitt said in 1967, “The idea becomes the machine that makes the art.” We’re just not used to having the individual with the concept be someone other than the individual making the art.
Moving through A Wall Drawing Retrospective, one can see how LeWitt expanded throughout his career. According to the exhibit’s pamphlet, LeWitt initially chose to work with only four colors, yellow, blue, red, and gray. His line were also limited to four basic types, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal left to right, and right to left. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that he began experimenting in their density and application to the wall.
So, how does an artist leave instructions to ensure his assistants reproduce the exact ideal piece every time? LeWitt’s used a system of abbreviated colors in his diagrams. For instance, an intense single color (yellow) would be YYYY, and a mixed hue might be RRBGG (red, red, blue, gray, gray).
Compared to all the trouble some artists will put forth to ensure the security and protection of their art, music, or writing in today’s world of easy access technology, it’s funny to think that LeWitt didn’t try. While some are obsessed with the idea of keeping their work to themselves, LeWitt was willingly giving it away.
A Wall Drawing Retrospective will remain at Mass MoCA for a 25-year period and is broken up into three floors in chronological order, spanning the artist’s career from the 1960s until his death in 2007.
An awesome blog about the preparation that went into the exhibit: http://edwardlifson.blogspot.com/2008/06/do-it-yourself-sol-lewitt-wall-drawings.html
Check out the latest cover story of The Scarlet – Clark University’s student newspaper: Woodwork.
With time, our once prized toys get put away and forgotten, because we feel we’re too old. Barbies are nostalgic, as are their fake smiles and flimsy accessories, but it’s nice to give them a new life, to recreate them within a new arena. This is an old shoe from one of my dolls, and I like to keep it close around my neck to remind me of simpler times.
It’s interesting the things that w hold onto throughout our lives. When I look back, Ruffles is the thing that’s been in my life the longest. Despite her appearance, Ruffles is a dog. She’s been living with me since I was bor. I now see her as a wizened old lady who came to college with me. She is threadbare and ripped all over. It was important to me to show how 21 years aged the stuffed animal. It was also crucial that I photograph her in her natural habitat – my bed. I hope that this piece reminds everyone to get in touch with their roots.
Sure, she’s kind of creepy and naked, but why? What’s her story? Where did she come from? Was she loved and cared for, or was she prematurely replaced by a Malibu Barbie and donated to Goodwill? I’m interested in stories such as these and what they mean in a lager social context.
This photo was one of the first photographs I took with my toy camera. Working with plastic cameras requires a spontaneity and surrendering of control that I have difficulty realizing in other aspects of my life. It is both liberating and exciting to create these beautifully imperfect images.
To me, toys are living objects to engage with, and help one detach from reality. They are a vehicle that puts me in a self invented world of reflection. I have always identified with ships and vehicles in general, and the endless imagination behind fantasizing them into existence. This piece touches on a few specific points of nostalgia for me, as well as a more recent theme of cleansing I have tired to bring into my work. Zambonis rejuvenate a rough surface of ice, leaving a smooth plane to glide on.
Steel, Plastic, Spray Paint
Unmodified found object of unknown origin. Possibly a factory mold used in making toy owls.
Building Block Building
This piece looks at the world through the simplicity of a child’s perspective. It also alludes to the ever-growing complexity of our adult lives, as simple childhood building blocks become part of a multifaceted structure.
This piece is made from a combination of various wires, clay, leather and thread. I let the materials guide my creation, working with the limitations and abilities of each. At the end, these is an element of surprise that emerges after seeing what developed out of these materials that once were disjointed but now depend on each other.
If winding up a full semester, finishing essays, and prepping for finals wasn’t already enough work, junior Studio Art majors Nina Eichner and Caitlin O’Brien have put together A World of Art, a gallery featuring student work focused on sense of place, culture, and belonging. “We want to show the student body how important places can be to people,” O’Brien said.
As members of the International Student Association, Eichner and O’Brien wanted to bring the realms of art and culture a little closer. “The president of the ISA, Chanchala Gunewardena, contacted me at the beginning of the semester and wanted to integrate the art department with something; it was an aspect they hadn’t collaborated with yet,” said O’Brien.
“World of Art is unique and important because it brings together a department and a club,” Eichner added. “It was really great to have work from both art students and non-Studio Art students in the exhibit, and the ISA co-sponsoring the event helped to give us a great mix of international work.”
While many of the works are by international students who have much more to be homesick about than most of us, the themes represented through the work are those to which everyone can relate. “It’s really exciting work, and we’re both very impressed with all of it,” Eichner said. “It’s great to see how a simple topic can be interpreted in so many ways.”
As winter break approaches and we begin thinking about the holiday season and seeing our families, A World of Art reminds us of our inevitable attachment to where we are in the moment. In everyday speech, I find myself confusing which place is home. Is it the house and town I was raised in or my apartment and friends at Clark? What does home mean to us?
The two curators fulfilled their initial goal to “showcase the diversity of Clark students’ backgrounds and cultural connections to places around the world through their art.” The exhibit features art inspired by a myriad of places from Japan to Peru to Seattle to Guatemala. There are also some non-descript pieces about travel and prints involving road maps. The exhibit shows the broad concepts of culture and place literally and figuratively and its roll in shaping who we are.
“[Studio Art professor] Ellie Crocker was very excited and agreeable. She guided us and also gave us a lot of free range in putting the exhibit together. It’s been great to have the faculty to support us,” Eichner said. Both she and O’Brien reached out to as many students as possible to fill the exhibit in a short period of time.
“Initially we were worried that we wouldn’t have enough submissions due to time constraints, but we ended up with the perfect amount of pieces,” O’Brien said. The gallery consists of 23 pieces from 12 artists and features a range of media. “We were really excited to have a sculpture piece in the exhibit,” she added. World of Art also includes photography, drawings, prints, spray paint, and more of every kind of media the two curators wanted to include in the exhibit.
Eichner, who is also a gallery intern, said that she’d welcome the opportunity to have another student show. “We’re lucky that we go to a small school that allows us to do this. I don’t think we’d have the same opportunity to have this experience elsewhere.”
After 11 years of preparation, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston celebrated the opening of their new $345 million Art of the Americas wing on Saturday November 20th. Admission to the new area was free to the public, and the museum was packed with visitors lined out the door.
Fifty-three new galleries are now open in the new wing devoted North, South and Central American art from the Pre-Columbian era through the third quarter of the twentieth century, adding 133,491 square feet to the museum’s footprint, a 28 percent increase.
The new wing highlight’s the city’s central role in American history. Boston’s MFA was founded in 1870 and has been expanding ever since.
Many of the wing’s galleries are dedicated to individual artists or artistic movements including Native North American art, African-American artists, the colonial portraiture
of John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart, silverware of Paul Revere, the Hudson River School of landscape painting, photography, and works by John Singer Sargent.
The new wing places colonial American culture in the same realm as those of other peoples inhabiting the Americas prior to the colonization, making quite the statement. Portraits of George Washington crossing the Delaware and standing next to a horse’s rear end, Colonial wing chairs, tea sets, quilts, a bust of Thomas Jefferson, and antique claw-foot cabinets reside in the same section of the museum as Maya ceramics.
Just for the occasion, Thomas Sully’s “The Passage of the Delaware” was unrolled, stretched, retouched and reframed in its original frame which had been in storage. The painting is 17 feet by 12 feet and weighs 1,000 pounds; understandably, the museum had not been able to properly displace the Revolutionary-era masterpiece before the new renovations. The piece was given a center spot in the new wing.
The works themselves aren’t the only new spectacular additions to the museum. The physical structure added onto the building has transformed the façade of Boston’s MFA. The new Shapiro Family Courtyard creates a whole new 12,184 square foot social space within the museum. It’s composed almost entirely of glass and has 63-foot-high ceilings.
If you didn’t already have an excuse to visit the MFA in Boston, the new architectural renovations and artistic acquisitions are well worth a trip to our nation’s Cradle of Liberty.