Arts Previews: Art 300 Exhibition “Muse”

The word “muse” often evokes imagery of Anient Greek goddesses, but the Art 300 class, “Discovering the Addison Collection,” reinvigorates the definition in the student-curated exhibition “Muse,” which opens at the Addison Gallery of American Art this Tuesday. The exhibition is organized into two galleries, which compare sources of inspiration. Form, such as the human body, inspires some to produce art, while individual presence and charisma inspires others. The students developed the theme of “muse” by reflecting on artwork from an assortment of 90 works from the Addison’s permanent collection that were featured in the exhibition “Inside, Outside, Upstairs, Downstairs: The Addison Anew” earlier this year. Students tried to derive the theme organically from the art, rather than push the works into a predetermined category. Throughout the term, the class worked closely with Julie Bernson, Curator of Education at the Addison Art Gallery from the Education department, and Jaime DeSimone, a Curatorial Fellow at the Addison from the Curatorial department, to put together the exhibition. The students involved were Hamed Adeyemi ’11, Rishabh Bhandari ’11, Cassie Coravos ’11, Evan Eads ’12, Kiran Gill ’11, Raquel Gordon ’12, Tamara Katoni ’12, Elaine Kuoch ’11, Kelsey Phinney ’11, Eve Simister ’12 and Edith Young ’11. Elaine Crivelli, Instructor in Art, will present the exhibition this coming Tuesday, March 8th from 6:00 to 7:30 at the Addison Art Gallery. “The students began the curating process by working in two groups because their exhibition is in two galleries, but in the end they came together as one group and agreed upon how all of the works of art would work together conceptually and formally,” said Crivelli in an email to The Phillipian. “To me, to curate means to not only decide where each piece of artwork goes within a gallery but more importantly to also decide how to present the works in a new and exciting way,” said Kuoch in an email to The Phillipian. Both Bernson and Crivelli noted that throughout the course, students were able to learn about the many aspects of a museum, especially regarding how a museum operates behind the scenes by learning from and working with the Addison’s various staff members. “I was impressed by how 11 students were able to pull everything together. They were incredibly thoughtful,” said Bernson. Bernson also explained that all 11 students had to collaborate in “real negotiations” in order to complete the final exhibition. She noted that during the process, the students had to face the same difficulties that professional curators face, such as making hard decisions and explaining their thought processes while choosing the theme and selecting the pieces to display. Cooperation played an essential part in the process of preparing for this exhibition. “Through this class, I learned to work with the people in my class more effectively. While sometimes it is necessary to stand up and voice your thoughts, it is sometimes important to accept the decisions of your peers even if you are not in agreement. Most of the difficulties revolved around individuals having different opinions,” said Kuoch. “My class consisted of 11 people working to curate two small rooms, and this was not an easy process. However, I think we all came together as a group by the end and will be presenting an exhibition that we can all take pride in,” she continued. Bernson noted that the viewers often only admire the contents, but at this exhibition, they will be urged to think about the procedure. Bernson hopes that this student-curated exhibition and discussions with the student curators will allow viewers and other students to understand the process of how an exhibition comes to place. Discover how the theme of “Muse” creates new connections by visiting the opening reception at the Addison this Tuesday. Visitors will get to see the completed exhibition, talk to the student curators, indulge in delicious treats and learn a little more about the curation process than they may have considered before.