Students Shape Art ExhibitGAMBIER, Ohio (February 1, 2008) An exhibition of modern and contemporary works on paper by some of the major artists of the post-World War II era opens at Kenyon College this week, with the help of student curators.
"States of Art: Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper" includes a 1964 Andy Warhol drawing of a reverse-image soup can with an open lid.
The free exhibition opens Thursday at the Olin Art Gallery and continues through Feb. 24. Student curators will discuss their work in preparing the exhibition during a public discussion at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 7, in the Olin Auditorium, followed by a reception in the gallery.
The thirty artworks are drawn from a private collection and represent Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Conceptualism, Postmodernism and Post-Minimalism. Among other artists represented in the exhibition are Georg Baselitz, Christian Boltanski, Willem de Kooning, Karen Finley, Robert Gober, Hans Hoffman, Sherrie Levine, Elizabeth Murray, Chris Ofili, Martin Puryear, Ed Ruscha, Jim Shaw, David Smith and Kiki Smith. Media include acrylic, charcoal, gouache, graphite, India ink, oil, pastel, photography, tempera and watercolor.
"This is about as hands-on as you can be. This was a wonderful opportunity," said Peter Dumbadze of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is a twenty-year-old art history major. Dumbadze was part of a fall Museum Studies seminar taught in the Art and Art History Department. "It was nice to become an authority on the material," he said.
Students in the course participated in the selection and arrangement of the works in the gallery, did research on the artists and their work, and wrote the wall text panels, interpretive labels and essays in the exhibition brochure.
"Instead of just listening to a lecture, I'm actually presenting my view on the artists," Dumbadze said. "We were working with major figures, and you're taking responsibility."
The students teamed with Daniel P. Younger, gallery director and visiting assistant professor of art history, and Melissa Dabakis, professor of art history, in the seminar. They sifted through more than 100 pieces in the private collection, making consensus display selections. The artworks are arranged in the context of the various movements, with consideration given to design, spacing and the flow of visitors.
"It's a very informative walk through this period of artistic practice," Younger said.
In some cases the work on paper is the expression of an idea that would later take shape in another medium. David Smith, for example, can be seen fleshing out with paper and ink his notions of Cubism and Abstract Expressionism seen later in his metal sculptures.
"They are sorting out their ideas on a smaller scale," Younger said. "In many cases, you can get a glimpse, a formative sense, of how ideas come together."
A six-page brochure featuring student essays accompanies the exhibition.
The other student curators are Emily Bierman, Class of 2008, of Northfield, Minnesota.; Kate Coker, Class of 2008, of Rye, New Hampshire; Madeline Courtney, Class of 2008, of Snohomish, Washington; Jessica Gersh, Class of 2008, of Beverly Hills, California.; Louisa Hartigan, Class of 2008, of New York, New York.; Leila Hirvonen, Class of 2008, of Northville, New York; Emma Perry, Class of 2009, of Newfields, New Hampshire; Leah Rogers, Class of 2009, of Woodbridge, New Jersey; Eugene Rutigliano, Class of 2008, of Randolph, New Jersey; Roxanne Smith, Class of 2011, of San Francisco, California.