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.

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Museum Trends: Book Clubs in the Galleries

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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

 

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:

http://njidekaakunyili.com/

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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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPbn6DWZ7EU

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 WhenYouWorkAtAMuseum.com, 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: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/may/12/cant-touch-this-third-annual-museum-dance-off-reaches-thrilling-finale

To watch previews from this year, please visit: http://www.whenyouworkatamuseum.com

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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:

 

https://www.leroycampbelloriginals.com/portfolio

 

George Costanzo ‘19

Museum Trends: Increasing Museum Staff Diversity

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Image from: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/pressure-mounts-for-us-museums-to-increase-diversity-at-the-top/

Recent studies found that while people of color make up 38% of the American population, they only represent 9% of museum boards and 16% curators, administrators, and educators. Although these findings are not surprising to those who work in the museum world, they certainly make it nearly impossible to ignore the fact the museums in the United States are dealing with a serious lack of diversity within their workforces.

Discussions about the best ways to increase racial and ethnic diversity are ongoing and widely debated. Some people believe giving money to institutions is the way to go, and others want to give money directly to people. Commissioner of New York’s cultural affairs department, Tom Finkelpearl, proposed following the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, in which a diverse pool of applicants must be considered for each senior position.

Other leaders suggest for museum staff to look at people with diverse backgrounds when considering applicants for positions — dance or theater majors, in addition to art history or studio art majors.Steps towards increasing diversity include raising money specifically for diversity efforts among city-subsidized institutions. Future measures might include offering paid internships, which allows people who cannot afford to work for free get into the museum field.

Alternative first steps include raising money specifically for diversity efforts among city-subsidized institutions. Future measures might include offering paid internships, which allows people who cannot afford to work for free gain experience in the museum field.

To learn more about this issue, please visit: http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/pressure-mounts-for-us-museums-to-increase-diversity-at-the-top/

Amy Shirer ’18

Gund Associate Team Spotlight: Audio-Visual Promotions

This week’s featured Associate team may be one of the smallest at the Gallery, but what they lack in size, they’re making up in exciting projects all around Kenyon! A.V. Associates are currently working on an interview with Transition States artist, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, whose exhibition at the Gallery ran from October 10, 2016 to January 2, 2017.  Lozano-Hemmer, whose work focuses on the intersection of art and technology in today’s surveillance-based world, has been the subject of vast critical acclaim across the world, and has had exhibitions all over Europe, the U.S., and Mexico.
A.V. Associates are also in the process of conducting interviews with Kenyon College’s senior studio art majors, whose work will be featured in a Gallery exhibition opening on April 24, 2017. These interviews will help viewers get to know the students behind the artwork and showcase the hard work of Kenyon’s artists.

-Jessica Lane, ’20