ART//SHOW, a new exhibit in the Cohen Gallery of the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, presents an eclectic juried exhibition of 22 sculptures, paintings, photographs, videos and prints collected from Brown and Rhode Island School of Design students. The exhibit is the product of a collaborative effort by students of MCM 1700R: "The Art of Curating," a class that is intended to teach students how to design and curate a professional art show.
"The idea was to give the students hands-on experience organizing an exhibition in a high-profile environment, and to do it in a way that exemplifies high standards of professionalism," said Mark Tribe, assistant professor of modern culture and media who teaches the class. The art of curating has evolved from simply caring for a collection, he added. Rather, it is a craft that combines art history and theory with the practical aspects of putting together an exhibition.
The show is as much about the curatorial practices behind putting together an exhibition as it is about the art it showcases. "When we were talking about the different pieces and how they should be placed, we realized the kind of power and responsibility the curator had," explained Stanislava Chyzhykova '12. The name ART//SHOW reflects this, she said. The name's simplicity protects each piece from the imposition of expectations and speaks to what the curators did — put together a show.
Because its purpose was more to practice the craft of curating, the exhibition itself is organized aesthetically rather than conceptually. Each piece stands distinct in context and meaning, with works exploring themes including personal trials and tribulations as well as explorations of life in the 21st century.
"In this case, the connections — and there are some — are more aesthetic," Tribe said. While thematic interactions emerge as a result of the conversation between pieces, he said, this is not the organizing principle of the exhibition.
The curators collected what they saw as the strongest works from around 200 submissions. "We really wanted to get as wide a variety of media as possible," Chyzhykova said. As a result, the materials that comprise the different pieces range from the ephemeral, such as string and light, to the more concrete elements of steel and wood. "It turned out to be a very simple but elegant show, with lots of different textures and mediums," she said.
"I think some of the pieces here are beautiful and challenging," said Jennifer Vincent '13, co-chair of the MCM Departmental Undergraduate Group. Pieces like "Baby Phat," created by RISD student Anna Huemmer, are succinct and powerful in the questions they pose to our contemporary moment, Vincent said.
The exhibition is comprised of submissions from both graduate and undergraduate works from Brown and RISD students. "We wanted it to be open to the entire community," Vincent said.
"It's very nice to see in one space pieces from a variety of people at very different levels of their artistic careers," she added.
The show will run until March 8.