Kara Walker’s “…most Astounding and Important Painting show of the fall Art Show viewing season!”

New York City’s Lower Manhattan is home to many small galleries holding some of the most prestigious artwork of our generation.  When I went home for fall break a few weeks ago, I visited a few of these galleries.  There are over 30 galleries within a few blocks of each other, making it easy to travel to many different kinds of shows.  The galleries feature photography, sculpture and painting shows next door to one another for blocks in every direction.  

One of these galleries is Sikkema Jenkins and Co. Currently, Sikkema Jenkins is showing a Kara Walker exhibition.  Kara Walker is an African American painter, print maker, installation artist and film-maker. She is best known for her room-size silhouette black paper cut outs. Through her work, Walker explores the themes of race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity.  

The title of Walker’s current show is long enough to be a full artist statement.  It is supposed to replicate a newspaper headline, as this work is her a response to the current political climate.  She created all of the pieces displayed within the past year.  The show consists of three small rooms in a gallery space.  Walker’s work is strictly two toned, black and white, and has overlapping imagery in all of her pieces.  


The title reads:

Sikkema Jenkins and Co. is Compelled to present…

The most Astounding and Important Painting show of the fall Art Show viewing season!

Collectors of Fine Art will Flock to see the latest Kara Walker offerings, and what is she offering but the Finest Selection of artworks by an African-American Living Woman Artist this side of the Mississippi.  Modest collectors will find her prices reasonable, those of a heartier disposition will recognize Bargains! Scholars will study and debate the Historical Value and Intellectual Merits of Miss Walker’s Diversionary Tactics. Art Historians will wonder whether the work represents a Departure or a Continuum. Students of Color will eye her work suspiciously and exercise their free right to Culturally Annihilate her on social media. Parents will cover the eyes of innocent children. School Teachers will reexamine their art history curricula. Prestigious Academic Societies will withdraw their support, former husbands and former lovers will recoil in abject terror. Critics will shake their heads in bemused silence. Gallery Directors will wring their hands at the sight of throngs of the gallery-curious flooding the pavement outside.  The Final President of the United States will visibly wince. Empires will fall, although which ones, only time will tell.

Emma Raible ’20

To learn more about the show, visit Sikkema Jenkins and Co.’s website.


The Associates trip to Columbus Ohio- Sherman and Impressionism

Last week, a few Gund associates, assistant director Christopher Yates and guest artist Uche Opka-Iroha (whose work is up right now in our Urban Cadence Exhibition until the  4th of March) travelled off the hill to Columbus to explore some fall/winter exhibitions.

The road trip was personally a culture shock. Having lived most of my life in London, I have never seen as many flat cornfields and farms as I did on this trip. The hills and landscapes were picturesque, and I felt as though Thomas Cole could have depicted them. Once we got to Columbus, and particularly OSU, the culture shock became even more apparent. I have never seen as many buildings and Chipotles in a 250 meter radius (they made Kenyon’s KAC look like a shrimp in scale!).

The Wexner Center for the Arts was our first stop on our tour. The institution was founded in 1989 as “a laboratory for the study of contemporary art.” The building, designed by Peter Eisenman, is set at an angle of 33 degrees and is built interiorly to be a multiverse for the next generation of the arts. As you enter the Wexner Center, Maya Lin’s Groundswell (1993, Tempered Safty Glass) covers three sections of the building’s “residual spaces” and enhances the architect’s use of geometry.

The exhibition Cindy Sherman- Imitation of Life, curated in collaboration with The Broad of Los Angeles, shows a retrospective of Sherman’s photography.  From the silver gelatine prints of Old Hollywood to the recent Clown series, Sherman is both an artist and a diverse character in her work. She manipulates self identity as a reflection for artificiality in society. The first room of the exhibit displays Sherman’s early Untitled Series, a personal favorite, which explores the notion of old Hollywood, publications, and Broadway through different identities. Each work contains an interesting balance between naturalism/realism and artificiality. In the next few rooms, Sherman is influenced by the history of western art, using a saturation of colors and artificial facial expressions and body postures. There is a higher contrast and use of the focal point being pushed to the foreground.

The next stop on our art tour was the Columbus Museum of Art. As we drove into the parking lot, the Columbus College of Design and Art “Art” sculpture welcomed us into a completely different part of the city. The exhibition Beyond Impressionism (in partnership with the Guggenheim Bilbao) provides the viewer with the transformations and expressive liberation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As you enter into the gallery, a iconic Water Lily work by Monet welcomes you. Its bold, expressive, and almost translucent qualities immediately give the viewer the tone of the work.The rise in global fascination with print, posters, japanesma, lack of brush stroke/realism and boldness are also explored throughout the exhibit. Volland and Bonnard interiors examine Parisian city life through clear graphic strokes and an illusion of space with limited colors. There is a perfect mix in color pallet which distorts the viewer’s eye and lures them into the artists’ bold works. If I could personally afford to buy a flat in Paris, I would totally want to have Volland’s pink decorative walls in my living room. Overall, the exhibition was fantastic and gave a good retrospective of the moment. It’s also great for families as there is a dress up station…which I got to explore!

Overall, the day was fantastic. Our group was small but mighty and we returned to Gambier refreshed and inspired for our future explorations into the world of art.

Cindy Sherman- Imitation of Life is on display at the Wexner Centre until December 31st, 2017 and Beyond Impressionism at the Columbus Museum of Art is up until the 21st of January. Need more ideas for art in central Ohio? Visit the Gund Gallery and say hello to our amazing associates!

Jamie Sussman ’21

New Year, New Blog

Happy start of the school year, folks! We just wanted to keep you updated with some of the organizational shifts at the Gund Gallery.

Our social media branch combined with the video/media group to create the Digital Outreach team. We’ll be working together to cover the Gallery’s social media accounts and blog, as well as interviews, discussions, and video essays of visiting artists and curators.

We’re so excited to be the leaders of this new collaborative effort. Here’s a little bit about us:

Amy is a senior English major, Art History minor from Dublin, Ohio. This is her second year working at Gund Gallery. She also is a tour guide and Admissions Fellow. After graduation, she will be working as a Communications Specialist at Cardinal Health.

Henry is a senior Studio Art and Russian double major, Art History minor from Phoenix, Arizona. This is his fourth year working at Gund Gallery. He is also a Russian AT and contributes to the cartoon section of The Collegian. After graduation, he plans to work with digital media and illustration.

A sneak peek of what’s to come on this blog includes:

  • Travel posts from Gund Gallery associates
  • Behind-the-scene looks at installations and exhibitions
  • In-depth interviews with artists and curators
  • Cool highlights of current events at museums around the world
  • Etc. etc.

Be sure to check the blog weekly for new posts!

Amy Shirer ’18
Henry Uhrik ’18

Museum Trends: Museum Apps


A screenshot of the Louvre app, available for both iPhone and Android

For decades now, museums have listed phone numbers on wall labels that guests can call for more information about select works of art. Special audio guides have also been standard for quite some time. However, more recently, certain museums are launching their own apps, which provide GPA maps and other visitor information, as well as stunning pictures of the artworks with detailed written descriptions.

The Louvre’s app highlights over 100 of the museum’s masterpieces, including the Mona Lisa. The app offers close-up photographs of details, as well as text. A map of the Louvre shows where each work is located in the museum, making it easy to find the most famous pieces. Other apps, like the one for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, takes downloaders on a virtual tour. The app for the Museum of Modern Art in New York goes so far to include audio and video podcasts.

Apps allow visitors to have a more unique museum experience, and also allow people to “visit” the museum without having to travel.

For more information, please visit: https://www.thebalance.com/top-fine-art-museum-apps-1296025.

Amy Shirer ’18




Gund Gallery Student Showcase: “Self-Portrait” by Emma Brown

Emma Brown is a Studio Art Major from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Her piece, Self-Portrait,  is currently on view at the Gund Gallery.


What is Self-Portrait?

Emma’s piece is, in her own words, “painted on a Japanese-style folding screen with a number of scenes from my life and from events that influenced me.” She put a lot of thought into theming these moments.

As she explained to me,

“the first panel chronologically takes place on June 23rd, 2004. All of my panels were inspired by journal entries. So on one side of the panel, you hear about and see the charming things I did as an eight-year-old in 2004. The opposing side of the panel is a scene from the Iraq war, which was also taking place at that time, in 2004. In doing that, I just wanted to juxtapose the path of my own life and growth and development with events that were going on in the world and how I gradually became more involved and interested in, basically, international life…affairs…the fate of the planet.”

The Medium:

The silk-screen medium is unique. Brown chose it deliberately, to express her background. “I am half Japanese. The medium I chose was just very symbolic because oil on canvas is a typical, European, art form, and the folding screen or byōbu is an iconic Japanese art form.”

Artists Who Influenced Brown’s Work:

Brown took inspiration from the atmosphere and painting style of Hayao Miyazaki movies, as well as the work of Maira Kalman, an illustrator who draws magazine covers and illustrated narratives. both of these artists, “do a lot of visual art which is interspersed with text,” a style which occurs in Self-Portrait as well.

Maira Kalman - The Impossibility of February

The image above is from one of Kalman’s illustrations that was published in the New York Times.

Inspiring Professors:

According to Brown, “This piece was half-painting and half-sculpture so, besides my comps advisor Reed Baldwin, I also got advice from Sandra Lee, the sculpture professor, and from Craig Hill, who I took painting with.” Brown also worked with “Ellen Sheffield, who is the bookmaking professor, because [she] made, essentially, a very large book.”’

Lastly, Brown gave one piece of advice to current Studio Art Majors who might be nervous about comps: “Start daydreaming about it, like now. That’s what it comes out of. Dream big.”


Favorite Contemporary Artist: Charles Traub

Charles H. Traub is an American photographer from Louisville, KY. In the 1980s, he traveled throughout Italy and the snaps he took there were compiled into a compendium, Dolce Via. The series alludes to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, a sensuous portrayal of Italian decadence, yet nonetheless, a compelling black and white film. As a contrast, the Sweet Way teems with bursts of color and sheds a pleasant light on leisure.

Looking through Dolce Via, it almost seems like he carefully curates the scenes. Instead, he just has a savvy eye for the casual verve of color that flows throughout the urban landscape. I really appreciate how the photos spontaneously highlight the beauty of simple moments and the ordinary.

Venice, 1981Positano 1981Rome, 19830090__CharlesTraub-Harpers-1410-630-1

Jacqueline Sanchez ’20

Museum Trends: More Diverse Exhibitions


Faith Ringgold (right) and Michele Wallace (left) in 1971. Image from the Huffington Post.

The first exhibition ever to showcase the work of exclusively black female artists was in 1971. Today the Brooklyn Museum is presenting We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women: 1965-1985, a new exhibition about black women artists of that time period. Those who participated in a movement to increase the visibility of black women artists from the 1960s to the 1980s aligned themselves with the black arts movement over the women’s liberation movement, as the latter was mostly led by white, middle-class women. The exhibition includes works from 40 artists who aimed to show the implications of being a woman artist of color.

Female artists are vastly underrepresented in museums in general, but especially when they are also black, which is why exhibitions like the Brooklyn Museum’s are so important. Efforts to increase the number of women artists, especially women of color, is a topic of discussion at many institutions.

To learn more about the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition, please visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/14-extraordinary-black-women-artists-are-now-on-view-in-brooklyn_us_58fe540de4b00fa7de16bfb3?ir=Arts&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000030&section=us_arts.

To learn more about the lack of women artists in museum collections, please visit: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/inquiry-wall-flowers-women-historical-art-collections/.

Amy Shirer ’18

Gund Associate Team Spotlight: Curatorial

The Gund Associate Curatorial team is ending the spring semester with a bang by organizing one of the last exhibitions of the academic year, Zapatista: Imagery of the Peasant Revolutionary. A student-curated exhibit spearheaded by Curatorial Associate Leaders Jenna Wendler, Rose Bishop, and Natasha Siyumbwa, Zapatista focuses on Mexican folk-nationalist iconography in the early twentieth century and the social-political climate that fueled its development as a human rights movement. The Curatorial team also put together a student-curated exhibition earlier in the year, Black Women/Black Lives, where student leaders worked directly with art institutions and archives in Brooklyn, New York.

Museum Trends: Book Clubs in the Galleries


A Toledo Museum of Art docent giving the book club a tour. Image from: https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/1202/art-museums-1.phtml

The average museum visitor only spends seconds looking at a work of art, so joining a book club is an effective way to really analyze a specific piece or an entire gallery. Art museums around the nation are either forming their own book clubs, or bringing existing clubs into the galleries. After reading the text, members discuss it with a museum guide, and then view an exhibition or collection associated with the book. Book lists vary depending on the museum, but certain lists contain everything from artist biographies to fiction to classic literature.

Certain museums, like the Cincinnati Museum of Art, have even teamed up with their local public libraries to promote both art and reading. As an English Major, Art History minor, I am all for this museum trend.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/1202/art-museums-1.phtml.

Amy Shirer ’18