Thursday Cartoon by Charlotte Lee

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Museum Trends: Political Protests in the Galleries

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Examples of artwork that was de-installed at Wellesley College’s Davis Museum. Image from: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/a-week-without-immigrant-art-college-museum-responds-to-trump-s-travel-ban/

From February 16-21, The Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts made a bold political response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration, the so-called Muslim ban. The museum de-installed or covered up works by immigrant artists, or pieces that were given to the museum by immigrant collectors. Portable works such as paintings were de-installed, while more permanent arrangements like display cases were shrouded by visually striking black fabric. The decision to hold the “exhibition” over Presidents’ Day was strategic, as the museum believes its message resonated to a further extent.

Around one-fifth of the museum’s permanent collection, or about 120 works, were removed or covered. The African Art section was almost entirely gone, as the family who donated 80% of the pieces came to the U.S. from Poland after World War II.

The Davis Museum encourages other institutions to make statements about the new executive order. Lisa Fischman, the director the museum, said while she does not believe art will impact policy, it can change lives.

For more information about the Davis Museum’s political protest, please visit: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/a-week-without-immigrant-art-college-museum-responds-to-trump-s-travel-ban/

Amy Shirer ’18

 

Gund Associate Team Spotlight: Operations

The Operations Associate team is hard at work in the Gallery this semester! Generally, Operations, as one of the bigger Associate groups at the Gallery, works on planning events as well as making sure they are well-staffed and set to run smoothly. Associate Leader Emma Garschagen, ’19, and Operations team member Vahni Kurra, ’20, filled us in on the Operations schedule in the coming weeks.

The group plans to continue working on engaging with Gallery goers in Aftermath: The Fallout of War through moderating and facilitating the chalkboard inside the exhibition. Associates research new, relevant quotes for the chalkboard each week and encourage visitors to interact with the artwork through a series of discussion questions to promote understanding, empathy, and thought while moving throughout the exhibition.

Operations associates also showed up to help with Family Day at the Gallery on February 18th, 2017, and are currently brainstorming for an all-Associate event to take place at the Gallery.

By: Jess Lane, ’20.

Favorite Contemporary Artist: Stephanie Rond

Stephanie Rond is a contemporary artist based in Columbus, OH who creates street art that can be seen around the city. Rond has had a documentary made about her work, she has represented North America in the “She’s a Leader” street art project and her solo show, Dangerous Impermanence, was listed in The Columbus Dispatch’s Best Art Exhibits of 2014.

Her work is stunning in its portrayal of strong, young girls placed in magical scenarios. Her most popular subjects, called “ghost girls,” do not show their faces and are generally depicted in hoodies to challenge the viewer’s preconceived notions of gender and race in the context of power. In one of my favorite pieces, Love is Love, Rond uses hand-cut stencil and spray paint to create a powerful image of a “ghost girl” pouring the cosmos out of a watering can. While the title alone comments on enforced scripts of heterosexuality, I was particularly struck by the subversion of gender roles in the piece. So often, women are portrayed in domestic roles such as cooking in a kitchen or tending to a garden. Instead of following that narrative, Rond chooses to show a girl dressed in gender-neutral clothing who can create an entire universe in just one move. Rond creates a sense of agency for her subjects that is so often taken away from women in art, and it is truly inspiring.

I was honored then when she asked me to model for some of her pieces. During the modeling process, Rond created a relaxed environment as we played around with various poses until we both felt satisfied with the photograph she would later use to make stencil cuts. Rond’s active mind and compassionate heart really shone throughout the process as she discussed with me at length how women are portrayed negatively in advertising and how she hoped to destroy those stereotypes in her art. It was clear that Rond sought to make her art accessible to all, as most of her work can be found in the streets of Columbus and on the walls of small businesses, but it was also clear that she wanted to challenge societal prejudices. Rond balances these two aspects of her art with grace, and the result is beautiful work that can be enjoyed by people of all backgrounds.

Vahni Kurra ’20

Museum Trends: Open Access to Online Collections

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Image sourced from Trip Advisor at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105125-Reviews-The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art-New_York_City_New_York.html

On February 7th, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art released 375,000 images of objects from its collection online in an initiative called Open Access. The photographs are now considered to be in the public domain and can be used for commercial or non-commercial use. The Met has a collection of around 2 million works that span 5,000 years, and many were excluded from Open Access because of copyright restrictions. While Open Access greatly increases the accessibility of the art, it may also lead to fewer visitors in the museum. It will be interesting to see if other large museums follow suit in the future.

For more information about the Met’s Open Access, please visit: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/in-the-frame/free-for-all-at-the-met/

Amy Shirer ’18

Gund Gallery Playlists: Home

This week’s Gund Gallery playlist is meant to guide the listener through all the feelings surrounding the concept of home. Each song tells a story of someone who longs to find home, longs to leave home, or is left displaced somewhere in between.

The UN refugee agency reports that there are approximately 65.3 million people forcibly displaced from their home in the world today. Use this playlist to think about what home means to you, and what it might mean to other people around the world.

 

George Costanzo 19′

Gund Associate Team Spotlight: Education

As per usual, the Education Associate Team is hard at work with various projects around Gund Gallery! We stopped to chat with Associate leader Jonah Edwards, ’18, about what is currently in the works for the five-person team.

Family Day, from 1:00-4:00 pm on February 18, is one of the events at the forefront of Education efforts. Associates are planning family-friendly activities spread across the Gallery, primarily based off of the current exhibition, Aftermath: The Fallout of War, as well as the student-curated exhibition, Black Women/Black Lives, which closed February 5, 2017. Aftermath presents an interesting series of challenges in planning an all-ages event, as it focuses on the effects of war, violence, and loss of life, but Associates are developing ways to relate to younger audiences while still retaining the essential messages of the exhibition.

Another project in store for Education in assembling an educational packet on Black Women/Black Lives and other works of art recently gifted to the Gallery. This packet would detail the incredible work done by the Curatorial teams over this year, as well as preserve the works showcased in the exhibition, as it was only up for a few weeks in January and February of this year.

Post by: Jessica Lane, ’20.

Museum Trends: Special Tours for Blind Visitors

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An America Insight tour at the Smithsonian Art Museum. Image from: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/05/505419694/blind-art-lovers-make-the-most-of-museum-visits-with-insight-tours

Specially trained docents at the Smithsonian Art Museum in Washington, D.C. give America InSight tours twice a month to blind and visually impaired patrons. Docents describe what a work of art looks like, ask visitors to imitate the pose of a sculpture, and help create a sense of the piece by asking questions such as “Can you hear the jazz music playing? Can you smell the cigarettes?” One docent is even known for playing piano music to explain a painting of a woman at a piano.

In some instances, patrons are invited to touch the art in latex-free gloves. A middle school girl once ran her hands down a sculpture and said that the piece depicted a pregnant woman. Certain docents had never even realized the woman portrayed was pregnant, which shows just how powerful our other senses can be when analyzing art.

To learn more about America Insight tours, please visit: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/05/505419694/blind-art-lovers-make-the-most-of-museum-visits-with-insight-tours.

Amy Shirer ’18