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.

Museum Trends: Book Clubs in the Galleries


A Toledo Museum of Art docent giving the book club a tour. Image from:

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:

Amy Shirer ’18


Favorite Contemporary Artist: Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Born and raised in Nigeria, artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby currently lives and works in America.  Her art is often a combination of collage, painting, photo transfers, and drawing.  In her work, Akunyili Crosby often depicts scenes of everyday domestic life, such as scenes in living rooms and bedrooms, which are reminiscent of our own lives in America.  Yet in those universal scenes, Akunyili Crosby also pays homage to her Nigerian heritage by layering her photographs of Nigerian culture, Nigerian magazine images, and wedding album photos in the backgrounds of her art.   Her juxtaposition of domestic scenes with intimate images (via photo transfers) chronicles her identity as a Nigerian woman living in America and disputes the all too common stereotype of an “authentic African.”  Through her work, Akunyili Crosby reconciles the complexity in her sense of “home” and belonging as both Nigeria, her birthplace, and America, where she lives now, are both home to her.  Although extremely personal, her work is relatable and accessible to many others, such as immigrants or international students, who have left their original home for America.  Lastly, Akunyili Crosby references classical art, as evidenced in her realistic painting and compositions, yet through photo transfers and the collaging of fabric, she alludes to Nigerian culture and tradition.  Her ability to draw on her personal experiences to create art that speaks to a wider audience is something I greatly admire.

Check out her website to see her portfolio:


Caroline Chang ‘18

Museum Trends: Having Fun with the Museum Dance Off 2017

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Screenshot of the Chrysler Museum of Art’s 2017 Submission. Watch the full video here:

This month brings the Fourth Annual Museum Dance Off, an international competition where any gallery library, archive, or museum can submit a video of staff dancing to music in their workplace to win.

The dance-off is run out of Baltimore, Maryland, by, a Tumblr account launched by museum worker Maggie G., who originally created the blog as a joke. The Indiana State Museum sent Maggie a video of staff members dancing, and she posted it because it made her smile. Other museums began to send her videos, and she decided to start an international dance-off contest. Dozens of museums from around the globe submit videos each year.

For more information, and to watch submissions from 2016, please visit:

To watch previews from this year, please visit:

Amy Shirer ’18


Favorite Contemporary Artist: Leroy Campbell

Leroy Campbell is an artist born in Charleston, SC and raised in New York City, NY. Having no formal training, Campbell draws influence from artists like Jacob Lawrence and Archibald Motley to create his own uniquely spiritual and thought provoking work.


Campbell uses charcoal characters to create evocative storytelling paintings. The piece above is called Supper Club, completed in 2014. He created this scene using mixed media elements on wood. Part of his series entitled Music, Campbell used an old piano as a base for this piece. He tends to combine the use of organic materials, acrylic paints, and different types of paper in order create vibrant displays.


The characters shown in his paintings often appear as stylized silhouettes with extended necks and eyeless faces, such as the one shown in Laced Up (completed in 2014), pictured above. Along with the old newspaper articles used in the base collage, the characters are meant to deliver a thought-provoking narrative.



As demonstrated in the work above entitled Defiance (completed in 2016), Campbell has a standing commitment to conveying civil rights messages and providing social commentary through his work. I find each piece both beautiful, and compelling. Check out more of his portfolio by clicking on the link below:


George Costanzo ‘19