Travel Blog – Visiting the Honolulu Museum of Art!

Honolulu Museum of Art


Last winter break, on a trip back to my home in Hawaii, I was eager to re-enter the Museum I had visited many times while I had grown up on the Island. However, this visit was different, as I was armed  with the new technical perspectives I had gained through my work at the Gund Gallery and Art History Class.

As I traveled throughout the museum, many new things stuck out at me. In the past, I had rushed past them, eager to get to my favorite art pieces. My new knowledge expanded my sight to include much more of the Museum: mainly its colored walls,  global connections, and a related artist.

Colored Walls

By helping to set up the Gund Gallery’s most recent exhibition, Urban Cadence, last spring, I learned much about the behind-the-scenes work that went into the setup of each museum exhibit. A large group of associates rearranged art pieces, painted, and re-decorated walls in a arduous and well-thought-out process.

As the Gund Gallery exhibit was being set up, I bore witness to the repainting of the large, white walls. I had to pay much more attention to the paint of the gallery than I had before, making sure its clear surface wasn’t blemished as we set up the new exhibit. I realized that the blank walls provided a clean aspect to a museum, while also uniting its several collections.

Therefore, I was surprised to realize the diversity of the palette used to decorate the walls of the Honolulu Museum of Art. The choice to utilize color in the exhibitions echoed the diversity of the collections, which range from eastern antiquity to western modernism. Instead of being totally cohesive, the museum chooses to accentuate each collection with a color that complements it.


Crivelli, Carlo, Apostle, Tempera and gilding on panel. Italian, 1430, Honolulu Museum of Art.

The powerful gold walls  in the room for the European Renaissance were chosen to “make the artwork pop.” The paint also serves well to match the lustrous gold gilding in some of the 15th century Italian pieces.


Neel, Alice, Marisol, Oil on Canvas. American, 1981. Oil on Canvas. Honolulu Museum of Art.

The portraiture room of the Honolulu Museum of Art is well-known for its characteristically bright orange walls. The color was chosen to complement the skin colors of the portraits subjects, giving the room and its pieces a healthy glow.  


Beyeren, Abraham van, A Fruit Still Life, Dutch, 1655. Oil on Canvas. Honolulu Museum of Art.

“Dramatic purple walls” fill the European room, surrounding the influential western region in regality. The colors for this and the American room were chosen collectively by curator of European and American art Theresa Papanikolas and graphic designer Jared Stone.

Global Connections

Through my work at the Gund Gallery I have been introduced to the African cities Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, which are highlighted in the rhythmic pictures of the Gallery’s featured photographers. As my experience with the collection grew, so did my fascination for the ability of art to transcend language and distance in order to provide a glimpse into different cultures. The Honolulu Museum of Art contains artwork from many different cultures, including European, Chinese, Buddhist, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Cycladic, Egyptian, and Hawaiian. When I visited over break, I was more open and excited than ever to learn about each different society.


Joanna Lau Sullivan Chinese Courtyard and Mediterranean Courtyard, Honolulu Museum of Art

The Museum contains two outdoor courtyards, one mediterranean and one Chinese, in order to mimic the two sections of art collections. The Asian and European collections lie on opposite ends of the gallery, adjacent to where the countries are located on either side of the Hawaiian Islands. The courtyards were made to take advantage of natural light and Hawaii’s warm climate.

Cycladic and Egyptian Art


Male Figure, Egypt, 2350-2170 B.C., Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6. Limestone with traces of polychrome. Honolulu Museum of Art.  Female Figure, Cycladic, 2500-2400 B.C. Marble with traces of polychrome.Honolulu Museum of Art.

I was surprised and excited to see these very old Egyptian and Cycladic pieces, having just learned about the same culture’s art in my Art History Survey 1 class at Kenyon. Ancient Egyptian figures are positioned awkwardly so that all limbs are shown; it was believed that this ensured that the soul of the person would make it into the afterlife in one piece. Cycladic figures originate from the Cycladic islands in Greece, and although their purpose is unclear, their large quantity guarantees them a place in museums all around the world.

Hawaiian Art


Imin, Kanyaku, Kanyaku Imin. Hammered and welded copper. American, 1985, Honolulu Museum of Art.                     Wires,Theodore, The Lei Maker. American, 1901, Honolulu Museum of Art.

In the Hawaiian section, I was drawn to the subtle colors hidden in the copper of Kanyaku Imin. Although incomprehensible from afar, the figures laid over the stone resemble ancient Hawaiian Petroglyphs. Furthermore, like many of the tourists that pour into Hawaii, I found myself attracted to the idealized, traditional Hawaiian culture depicted in the deep red tones and flowers in  The Lei Maker.

Buddhist Art


Guanyin, China, 960-1126. Wood with traces of pigment. Honolulu Museum of Art.                                                                          Kurukulla, Tibet, 18th-19th century. Gilt bronze. Honolulu Museum of Art.

These two figures, though largely contrasting in size (from larger than life to the size of a palm), both project very powerful messages. The image on the left depicts Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and is a great example of the “royal ease” style, which became prominent in China during the 10th and 11th century. The image in the right depicts Kurukulla, a goddess of power and protector of buddhism.

Korean Art


Dragon, Korea, Jodeon Dynasty, 1392-1910. Panell; ink and color on paper. Honolulu Museum of Art.                                               Dragon Jar, Korea, Joseon Dynasty, 18th century. Porcelain with cobalt blue. Honolulu Museum of Art.

These dragons are from the Jodeon dynasty of Korea, which was both the longest imperial dynasty and the most Confucian, emphasizing order and peace. In Korea, the dragon is a highly revered, auspicious, and mythological creature.

Chinese Art


Woman’s Jacket, China, Qing Dynasty, 1875-1908. Silk and gilt paper strips, satin weave, embroidery. Honolulu Museum of Art.     Xi, Dai. River Scene, China, Qing Dynasty 1856.  Fan; ink and color on paper. Honolulu Museum of Art.

The Qing Dynasty has semi-nomadic origins, which linger in the shapes of their robes. Manchu elite in this period were great connoisseurs of art, creating a great leap in technical accomplishment.

Japanese Art


Tesseki, Fujimoto, Old Pine. Japan, Edo period, 185. Hanging scroll; ink on satin. Honolulu Museum of Art.                                      Eisen, Keisai, The Suzuri Spring at Torii Pass near Yabuhara (from Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido Road). Edo period, 1835. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper.  Honolulu Museum of Art.

The pine tree, a symbol of fortitude, when paired with a rock and a mushroom, were often given to celebrate a recipient’s 60th birthday. The Honolulu Museum of Art has the third largest collection of Japanese woodblocks in the United States. It was in the peaceful Edo period that the term Ukiyo-e, or “the floating world,” surrounded the more whimsical, lighthearted scenes in woodblock prints.

European Art


Paul, Gauguin, Two Nudes on a Tahitian Beach, French, 1891/1894. Oil on Canvas. Honolulu Museum of Art.                               Monet, Claude, Water Lilies, French, 1917/1919. Oil on Canvas. Honolulu Museum of Art.

Western artists, like Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet, also have a place at the museum. Two Nudes on a Tahitian Beach was completed when Gauguin, seeking relief from industrialized Europe, left France for Tahiti. Water Lilies belongs to the last of three series of Monet’s work, each seeking to capture the fleeting light dancing across his lily pond.

Related Artist – Robert Rauschenberg

Having already witnessed Rauschenberg’s unorthodox art style at the Gund Gallery, I was somewhat prepared when I beheld Trophy V at the Honolulu Museum.


Robert Rauschenberg, Grape Levee (from Rookery Mounds), American, 1979. 3-color lithograph. 41 x 31 inches, Gund Gallery Collection.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Robert Rauschenberg, Trophy V (for Jasper Johns), American, 1962. Combine painting on canvas. Honolulu Museum of Art.

Last semester my Drawing 1 class took a trip out of Horvitz hall to the Gund Gallery, where we spent about an hour picking apart each of the photo collages in Rauschenberg’s “Rookery Mounds” series. While at first glance I hadn’t thought much of the seemingly arbitrary photo selections, a closer look illuminated the subtle themes and well-thought out composition, which provided layers of meaning for each piece.

When I approached Trophy V, instead of giving it a quick glance of acknowledgement and continuing on like many others in the group, I stayed back with  a few people and really tried to pick apart the piece. We began to notice the industrial, urban aspects of the piece much more, along with the graffiti-esque slashes of contrasting light and dark colors. The different tones seemed to resemble the layers of paint one could see on an old building. The small map of America could narrow the piece’s focus to the urbanization of the rapidly growing country. The traffic light lacked a yellow center, but the yellow paper provided enough contrast with its white background to draw me closer. On the paper was the only depiction of natural imagery: a shell draw thinly with pencil, styled with the spiral of the golden ratio. The paper appeared to be covering something else, perhaps hinting that there was a more natural, earthen underlayer beneath the many layers of grey tones and industrial symbols on the piece.


Flower from the Joanna Lau Sullivan Chinese Courtyard

Leaving the Honolulu Museum of Art after break, I felt much like the bouncing kid I had been when I toured the museum for the first time. Working at the gallery has made me realize how much different choices made in Museums, as well as in art, influence a visitors/viewers experience. By highlighting these choices, being an associate makes deeper, more exciting analysis’s possible.

Miah Tapper ’21


A Visit to the Brandywine River Museum of Art


A couple months ago I was able to tour the Brandywine River Museum of Art while visiting family in Pennsylvania. I was excited to have found such a great collection of American historic and illustrative art hours away from any big city. But my true desire to visit the museum stemmed from this piece by N.C. Wyeth that had long ago rested in my childhood bedroom (below). I couldn’t wait to find out more about the artist whose work I had wondered at since I was 6.

nc wyeth

The Giant (fig 1)

The museum is 5 minutes away from the house that illustrator N.C. Wyeth purchased in 1911, using the proceeds he had gained from his pieces published in Treasure Island. Since its purchase, the house and surrounding area have provided studio space and artistic inspiration to N.C. Wyeth, his daughters Henriette and Carolyn Wyeth, his son Andrew Wyeth, and his grandson Jamie Wyeth.


Brandywine River, view from the Brandywine River Museum of Art

The Wyeth’s land stretches on for 18 acres and rests near the village of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. N.C. Wyeth dubbed the land “the most glorious sight in the township” (Brandywine River Museum).  It was definitely a pretty sight, the soft trickling sounds of the river creating a very serene atmosphere. It was very special to not only see the art but to take in the same sights, the same ancient, gnarled trees and crisp, leafy canopy that nurtured the art of generations of Wyeths.


Images (left to right, fig 2-4): “My dear,” said General Washington, “Captain Prescott’s behavior was inexcusable” (1896), The Nation Makers (1903), Viewing the Battle of Bunker Hill (1901)

The art of the Museum rests on three main floors, the first one containing a plethora of historical American art. I walked through this section first, eagerly taking in sights of the art. There, my eye was caught by several pieces by Howard Pyle, another notable illustrator of the 19th and early 20th century. Pyle drew particular inspiration from the American Revolutionary War, and throughout his career created several compelling works surrounding its conflicts, and the scene’s behind them. (above).


Images (left to right, fig 5-9): I said goodbye to mother and the cove (1911, Treasure Island), It hung upon a thorn, and there he blew three deadly notes (1917, The Boy’s King Arthur), The Wreck of the “Covenant” (1913, Kidnapped), To me he was unweariedly kind, and always glad to see me in the galley (1911, Treasures Island), Our lives depended on our helmsman (1940, Man against the Sea)

Further into the  2nd and 3rd floor of the museum, much more of the Wyeth family art began to appear. I spent the majority of my time in the N.C. Wyeth section, where I once again fell in love with the art of the great illustrator. I especially enjoyed the deep, vivid blues that Wyeth was able to achieve in his seascapes, thanks to the creation of pigments from “Monasterial Fast Blue B”, and “Monasterial Fast Green G”. The pigments were developed by chemists employed at a factory owned by the DuPont Family, who provided N.C. Wyeth with the paint.  Several of the illustrations there were associated with novels I’d heard of (above). The scenes of the stories that the pictures let slip, and the questions they aroused, inspired me to go out and obtain many of the books upon leaving the museum.


Self Portrait, 1945 (fig 10)

Andrew Wyeth spent lots of his painting career around the Chadds Ford area, creating images of its lovely natural imagery, and the buildings and domestic animals that permeated it. Andrew was taught extensively for several years by his father, N.C. Wyeth, starting at the age of 15 (above).


Images (left to right, 11-12): Hepaticas (1966), Portrait of Carolyn Wyeth (1931)

Henriette Wyeth combined abstract with realistic qualities to make beautiful, harmonious pieces. Like her younger brother, Andrew Wyeth, she was inspired by subjects all around her, including local wildflowers and family members (above).


Images (left to right, fig. 13-15): Portrait of Pig (1970), Mort de Noureev (2001), Frolic (2017)

Jamie Wyeth, the son of Andrew Wyeth, also gained much of his inspiration from his surroundings. It was the esteemed dancer Rudolf Nureyev that Jamie took on as his primary subject, and whose image captivated him probably almost as much as the dancer’s stage performances. Jamie currently continues the Wyeth legacy through many inventive multi-media pieces that echo his father’s nostalgia of rural life decades ago.



Bright, J Clayton. Miss Gratz. 1984, Brandywine River Museum of Art.

As I left the Museum, I carried with me a deeper appreciation of the interplay between text and image that successful illustration work requires, as well as a tiny post-card version of the piece that had hung in my bedroom many years ago.

I hope to return this summer to see what new amazing art collections the little museum brings in, and to again enjoy the breathtaking landscape that surrounds it.

Miah Tapper ’21


Fig 1: Wyeth, N C. “The Giant.” MainlineToday, Mark E. Dixon, 2017, Westown School,

Fig 2:  Pyle, Howard. “My Dear,” Said General Washington, “Captain Prescott’s Behavior Was Inexcusable. Oil on Pastel. 1896, Brandywine River Museum of Art.    (Collection of Mrs. Andrew Wyeth)

        Illustration for “Love at Valley Forge,” by Sarah King Wiley, The Ladies Home Journal, December 1896            

Fig 3:  Pyle, Howard. The Nation Makers. Oil on Pastel.1903, Brandywine River Museum of Art.

         Illustration in Collier’s Weekly, June 2, 1906

Fig 4: Pyle, Howard. Viewing the Battle of Bunker Hill. Oil on pastel. 1901, Brandywine River Museum of Art.             (Collection of Rita and Lawrence Pereira)

        Illustration for “Colonies and Nation,” by Woodrow Wilson, Harper’s New Monthly, October 1901.         

Fig 5: Wyeth, N C. I Said Goodbye to Mother and the Cove. Oil on Pastel. 1911, Bandywine River Museum of Art.      (The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection)

        Illustration for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911)    

Fig 6: Wyeth, N C.  It Hung upon a Thorn, and There He Blew Three Deadly Notes. Oil on Pastel. 1917, Brandywine River Museum of Art.             (The Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection)

        Illustration for The Boy’s King Arthur, edited by Sidney Lanier (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1917)           

Fig 7: Wyeth, N C.  The Wreck of the “Covenant”. Oil on Pastel. 1913, Brandywine River Museum of Art.

       Illustration for Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Song, 1913)

Fig 8: Wyeth, N C. To Me He Was Unweariedly Kind, and Always Glad to See Me in the Galley. Oil on Pastel. 1911, Brandywine River Museum of Art.  (Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Collection)

         Illustration for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911)

Fig 9: Wyeth, N C.  Our Lives Depended on Our Helmsman. Oil on Pastel. 1940, Brandywine River Museum of Art. 

        Illustration for The Bounty Trilogy, Men Against the Sea by Charles Nordoff and James Hall, Little, Brown and Company, 1940.

Fig 10: Wyeth, Andrew. Self Portrait. Oil on Pastel. 1945, Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Fig 11: Wyeth, Henriette. Hepaticas. Oil on Pastel. 1966, Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Fig 12: Wyeth, Henriette. Portrait of Carolyn Wyeth. Oil on Pastel. 1931, Brandywise River Museum of Art.

Fig 13: Wyeth, Jamie. Portrait of Pig . 1970, Brandywise River Museum of Art.

Fig 14: Wyeth, Jamie. Mort de Noureev. 2001, Brandywise River Museum of Art.

Fig 15: Wyeth, Jamie. Frolic. 2017, Brandywise River Museum of Art.


Brandywine River Museum. “Wyeth Family Artists.” Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, 10 July 2017,

Lane, Jim. “Art Now and Then.” Brandywine River Museum, 28 Sept. 2017, 



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:

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:

To learn more about the lack of women artists in museum collections, please visit:

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.