Saturday, December 22, 2012

Opportunity: Study Abroad in London, '13-14 with Dr. Decker

Students from the 2007-08 trip. See any familiar faces?
Start saving your pennies and planning ahead for December 26, 2013....

Dr. Decker will be leading a two-week course in England called Great Exhibitions (see description below). The course may be used as an upper-level art history course or an elective within the art major, as well as upper-level hours. 

The course is part of the larger offerings of CCSA. See their site here (although info on Dec 2013-Jan 2014 has not yet been posted). The tentative travel dates are December 26, 2013 through January 8, 2014.
Our visits include Tate Modern, shown here with
Doris Salcedo's installation Shibboleth, the 8th commission in the famed Unilever series.

If you're interested in visiting museums and collections, consider taking this course. More info will be provided in the late Spring. 

Course Description: This course examines museum collections in Southern England, including London, Brighton, and Oxford as well as historic sites such as Bath and Stonehenge. Students will examine the collections at the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Museums, Imperial War Museum, Natural History Museum, Shakespeare’s Globe, and several sites outside of London, including Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and The Story Museum, a center for story and storytelling in this rich city associated with stories, including those of Evelyn Waugh and Lewis Carroll. The museum visits enable students to learn about the history of museums through the collections of specific institutions and through the eyes of the viewer. Students will encounter the spaces of museums directly and will critically analyze collections and their purposes daily.

Can you say "scandal," as in the Elgin Marbles,
shown here in the British Museum?
Feel free to send an email to me with questions!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shout out to Josh Howard!

The department wants to send a shout out to Josh Howard, class of 2007, who is one of the young explorers featured on the National Geographic Homepage. Click here.

National Geographic Explorer's Page with Josh and his work
Josh graduated with a degree in studio art with an emphasis in graphic design, although he was also very interested in and pursued photography. Upon graduation, he opened his own graphic design firm and pursued the grant opportunities with National Geographic. In 2008, he was tapped as one of their Young Explorers.

He pursued a project on Mountaintop Removal. See Vimeo clip here.

Readers of this blog will certainly be familiar with Josh's work which is on view with that of several GC alums and others at the Carnegie Center in New Albany, IN. The show "Project Reclamation" was curated by Mary Margaret (Carlton) Sparks. The show aims to raise awareness about Mountaintop Removal and its impact. Read more on that exhibition here.

The NG page that connects us with the NG Young Explorers
In addition, readers of the blog may recall Josh's talk to art majors and others in April 2011, as part of our Art for Lunch series (something we'll be reviving in the Spring -- be on the watch for it!)

Shout out to Josh! And a call to all of our art alums: let us know what you're doing so we can share your news with others!!

And a word of advice to current students: follow your passion! You'll never know where it'll lead you.

PS: Check out Josh's work here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ann Hamilton, in the News

We were fortunate to see Ann Hamilton speak last spring at U of L. Here's a recent story about her work in the New York Times.

The Audience as Art Movement
Ann Hamilton at the Park Avenue Armory

"Anyone who liked swings as a child — and that should include quite a few of us — will probably feel a surprisingly visceral attraction to Ann Hamilton’s installation “the event of a thread” at the Park Avenue Armory." from NYT

Read the full article here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dead Sea Scrolls: Follow up

On Sunday, December 2, 2012 students from the art history courses and a few additional friends, via the Religion Department, visited the travelling exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  The name of the exhibit is "Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times." 

I deliver the agenda for the afternoon. 

Escalators to the exhibit hall
Inside the exhibit, we learned how Israel was an ancient crossroads between the Arabian Desert and the Mediterranean Sea. Its the source for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.  The Biblical era, also known as the Iron Age (ca. 1200 BCE) brought forth the birth and evolution of the Israelites who adopted a variation of a Phoenician alphabet to begin writing their Bible (book or library).

In the exhibit, we viewed 10 selections from the Scrolls, that are 2000-year-old parchments and that address the latter Hellenic and Roman control of this region. The scrolls were non-Biblical and Biblical, thus giving us a glimpse into the lives of people at the time.

Inside the exhibition, there are ample texts and prompts for using the audioguides.

The decoration on the vessel on the right above was unusual in that it had clay on its shoulder and included a striding horned animal with a bird above it. Also, a paw appears on the rim.

Objects were on view in cases as well as secondary wall displays.

In addition to this cache of stones, we saw iron arrowheads (or points) and flint sling-stones. These give compelling evidence of a catastrophic battle that took place in the area of Lachish.
The fascinating scale with stone weights.

In addition, we saw ceramic rattles, pottery figurine of a female drummer (that I thought looked like a tambourine player), leather sandals, combs, ossuraries, and textiles.

Relaxing at the end of the afternoon before the bus's departure.

If you're interested in visual and material culture of the ancient world, and are a fan of archaeology, this exhibition is well worth the ticket.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SoFA Opening Reception

SoFA, WKU Faculty and StudentsSoFA, Laura StewartSoFA ReceptionSoFA, Panel Discussion with Peter Morrin, Becky Alley and Charla Reed, led by Boris ZakicSoFA, Peter Morrin and Becky AlleySoFA Reception
SoFA, Seth Earnest (Asbury University)SoFA ReceptionSoFA, James Webb (EKU)SoFA, Webb and Earnest

SoFA Opening Reception, a set on Flickr.
A few shots from the SoFA opening reception, Friday, November 30, 6:00–8:00 PM.

Those who attended were able to vote for three "people's choice" awards. Best 2D went to Seth Earnest of Asbury University for his painting, "Congruency." Best 3D and Best Overall, went to James Webb of EKU for his ceramic piece, "Scrumptiously Nostalgic Crackle Teapot."

Big thanks to everyone who was able to attend!

SoFA Successes

On Friday of last week, more than twenty students from colleges and universities across Kentucky gathered at Georgetown College for the opening reception of "On the SoFA: State of Fine Art," an exhibition on view in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery through January 4.  
Prof. Zakic moderating panel discussion with Peter Morrin, Becky Alley, and Charla Reed (painting on left by Emily Shirley, Transylvania University; title signage designed by GC art student Lynsey Jordan)
In addition to hearing about "Opportunities After Graduation" from panel members Becky Alley of the Lexington Art League, Peter Morrin of the University of Louisville's Hite Art Institute, and Charla Reed of the Kentucky Arts Council, audience members viewed captivating examples of student art work in a wide variety of media.
Seth Earnest and James Webb, SoFA "People's Choice" Awards Recipients
Ballots designed by GC student Lynsey Jordan for the "People's Choice" Awards for outstanding 2D/Video, 3D/Installation and Overall, were cast and the winners announced:  Seth Earnest of Transylvania University for his painting, Congruency, and James Webb of Eastern Kentucky University for his ceramic Scrumptiously Nostalgic Crackle Teapot. 
Also on Friday evening, GC art senior Mark Terrell Taylor (far right) hosted a forum discussion on Hip-Hop music and culture followed by a Hip-Hop listening party.  A fantastic evening was had by all!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Look Over: Diversity Exhibition, guest post

During the last week of Modern Art, we spent time discussing diverse perspectives, partially as a reflection of the ways in which modern art migrated away from standards and norms of the academic tradition, and secondly as a means of understanding how art becomes post-modern. Each student worked with an object or objects from the exhibition that will be on view in the Cochenour Gallery through January 2013 entitled "Look Over: Diversity within and beyond the GC Collection." 

The students presented their findings and a paper was selected by the students to appear on the department blog. Daniel Cantu's paper about the Native American perspective and the College's paiting by "A Thomas," shown below. In his discussion, Cantu made connections between that painting, presumably made in the late 19th or early 20th century, and Steve McCurry's Afghan woman. His paper/reflection is inserted below, in italics.

“Those who have privileges inevitably hold on to them, and hold on tight, no matter how marginal the advantage involved, until compelled to bow to superior power of one sort or another.” – Linda Nochlin, 1971

After much thought over the meaning of this quote and what it represents, along with the painting of a Native American by A. Thomas, I came to many conclusions that seemed to fall apart. But one particular answer stuck with me, and it dealt with the biggest privilege, pride.
We as Americans are a prideful nation. We enjoy making the best things, improving the lives of everyone, and assuming the role as a judge, making sure everyone else follows the rules and gets along. America earned the right to be proud of itself, especially since how far we have come from after we gained independence from Britain, the former world power. As for our privileges, we are entitled to anything.
But once we gain everything we eventually lose sight of the things that once made us stronger. Before America, the was the Pilgrims. Without the aid of the foreign Natives, the Pilgrims would not have survived and America would probably not have been created. But as our nation developed and eventually surpassed the needs of the Natives, we lost sight of our neighboring allies. Only when pride is traded for humility, the artist A. Thomas is able to set aside his biased views and paint an individual who understands what privileges really mean.
A Thomas, c. 1850+, Georgetown College Collection
The painting of the Native American was created around the early 20th century. Today, our pride is still ever persistent. On the occasion an artist is able to capture the beauty of a foreigner that our pride often overlooks. The Middle East is often regarded negatively, especially with the rumors that float around their culture. But once we embarking to an Afghan nation and photograph its people, it is only then do we realize how privileged we are to be able to be accepted into a foreign country, despite our pride.
In 1985, a National Geographic photographer was able to capture the raw beauty of a young Afghan girl’s eyes. Only 17 years later would the photographer have been able to take another picture of the same girl, who was now much older and stricken with the harsh life of an Afghani. The remarkable privilege of being able to retake the picture was amazing, women in her country did not understand how influential photography was, and neither did she.

Steve McCurry, Afghan Girl
(left from the cover of National Geographic; right, same girl, photographed later)
Our greatest privilege as a nation is to be able to humbly backtrack ourselves and cooperate with other nations and peoples. We may be on the top of the world in terms of power and influence, but without the “little guys” we would not have made it this far. It is in good hope that we can respect all types of nations, friend or foe, so that we many continue to remain a privileged nation. -- Daniel Cantu II 

Friday, November 30, 2012

SoFA today! Come join us!

 Join art undergraduates from across the state of Kentucky for "On the SoFA: State of Fine Art," a statewide exhibition of work by students nominated by their art faculty.  The opening reception with a Panel Discussion, "Opportunities After Graduation (NEXUS), is TONIGHT, November 30, from 6-8 p.m. in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery.

Get off the SoFA for just a bit, though, to listen to GC Art Senior Mark Terrell Taylor, whose thesis includes a "Hip Hop Forum" (NEXUS) taking place at 5 p.m. followed by a curated Hip Hop Listening Party (NEXUS).

See you tonight!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oral History Project

 Students in the curatorial studies course (ART 302, offered every fall) develop an oral history project that focuses on a person close to them. Our website for the course is here.

This project was inspired by a few resources and individuals. First, the famed journalist and chronicler of people, Studs Terkel, author of the interviews collected and entitled Working

Studs Terkel, an oral historian extraordinaire

Cleveland author, Harvey Pekar, did a graphic novel interpretation that both revived and spread interest in Terkel's work and approach.

Always a Clevelander, Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame)
In developing this project, I also was informed by the approach of a faculty member at Case Western Reserve, my alma mater. Dr. Gladys Haddad, professor of history and American Studies and chronicler of the Western Reserve, hosts a blog and journal entitled Regionally Speaking. An oral historian extraordinaire, Haddad kindly shared her course materials from a recent seminar that she taught with Dr. John Bassett (Case, English Department). For this project, their students were charged with the task of interviewing a graduate of the Flora Stone Mather College for Women, the sister college of the Adelbert College for Men at Western Reserve University (Case's predecessor). 
Flora Stone Mather Collge, on the historic Case campus
And, of course, inspiration came from the StoryCorps project, an independent non-profit that encourages listening to one another as "an act of love."
Wouldn't you love to have the StoryCorpsMobile come to our neighborhood?
Foremost in this project was the transition for the students from curating objects (such as objects from the GC archives) to virtual curation. This topic is taken up by McTavish's essay in Janet Marstine's New Museum Theory, a book that we've discussed on this blog previously. 

As you might suspect, I could go on and on about this project. So, if you're interested in hearing more from me, do let me know. But, at any rate, the interviews are featured on this site (follow the link). Take a listen and let us know what you think. We hope that you enjoy them!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ART 338 Intermediate Digital Imaging, Broad Collaboration

Maddy FritzStephanie BarkerDarrell KincerLauren BrockmanMiranda SosbyJacalynn Marsh
Melanie TotsikasMallory Meisner

The ART 338 class collaborated with creative writing students from Adam Clay's class. The poets graciously provided us with original works for which we produced "broadsides", attempting to create a visual context and presentation of their poems.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fiscal Cliff: Museum Admission

In the political arena, all of this talk about a fiscal cliff brings to mind a possible impending doom through higher taxes and budget cuts for Americans in the new year. Some resolution must be reached by our leaders. But, the terms of that are yet undefined and might lead us to pause and think about how we spend our own funds. In terms of deficits and budget cuts, where are you willing to budge? What is "worth" an increase to you? What do you value?

Well, in the museum world, value and admission price are touchy topics, particularly given the new lawsuit against the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See here, here, and here. At issue is the Museum's fiscal policy for admission that offers a price, and in small print, defines that fee as suggested. The fee is steep - $25 - but when you consider what comes with that fee, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs by far.

However, two long-time members of the Met are suing the museum because of its fiscal policy for admission, and also, its supposed intent to deceive folks into believing that they HAVE to pay the recommended price (currently, $25).

Dr. Brill and Prof. Zakic enjoying a conversation
in front of Tom Coates' works.
Some of the comments made by readers of the articles linked above have pointed out some of the many tropes of the benevolence shown toward public services and cultural entities - that museums have benefitted from public funding and subsidies. This is undoubtedly true, but museums and cultural institutions, like the Met and our own galleries and collections, do face rising costs. Nor are they immune to inflation.

Other commenters have remarked at the murkiness of the fee structure - it's unclear to visitors not familiar with the miniscule font that reads "recommended" underneath the admission fee. Still, others have claimed that it shouldn't be a bother to pay what you wish. Responders have noted that those who do pay less get glares and snares from Met staff who seem to pass judgement upon those who choose - for whatever reason - not the pay for the full recommended admission fee.

Good art inspires conversation and reflection. 
I do agree with the premise of the lawsuit - that the Museum's recommended fee and language at the admission desk is unclear. While certainly the majority of folks will not refuse to visit the Met because of the lawsuit filed by Theodore Grunewald and Patricia Nicholson who want a court order barring the Museum from charging admission. The lawsuit may have an impact: there may be a few shy of 6 million visitors next year, to the Met perhaps. Well, that's possible, but highly unlikely.

And, it's best shared with fiends!

In light of all of these financial and litigious discussions, I encourage you to continue to patronize museums, galleries, and collections as you wish - and embrace those that truly remain free, such as our own collections: the outdoor Sculpture Collection, the Wilson and Cochenour Galleries, Gallery 108 (the new annex site in the LRC), and the Dr. Donald L. and Dorothy Jacobs Collection. We have art on view every day of the year, open and accessible 24/7 for you. For free! Really, truly FREE!