What is contemporary art? That is the question explored by Emerson College students in a Visual and Media Arts class aptly named What Is Contemporary Art? During the semester, students learn the craft of curating a public, contemporary art exhibit—from finding artists and selecting works to developing a comprehensive theme and managing the installation.
The culmination of the class, the exhibit called profiles of the [dis]connected, launches Friday, (December 9), with an opening reception from 5 to 7 pm. The exhibit explores the “digital generation” through a variety of art mediums including photography, video, drawings, and 3D media. The exhibition runs through February 17, 2012 (closed for school break: December 16, 2011–January 17, 2012). Admission to the Huret & Spector Gallery is open to the public and free of charge. The gallery is located at the Tufte Performance and Production Center, 10 Boylston Place, Sixth Floor, Boston. Gallery hours are Monday–Friday, 12–5 pm.
“Curating an exhibition gives students an opportunity to articulate what makes their generation unique from past artists,” said Joseph Ketner, the Lois and Henry Foster chair in contemporary art theory and practice and distinguished curator-in-residence, who teaches the class.
Ketner said the class challenges students to think beyond what they like personally when choosing art for their exhibit, and to consider a number of factors including how they will display their selected artwork in a three-dimensional space, and what each piece brings to the theme of the exhibition to make it comprehensive for visitors. “I’m always excited to see the students’ visions come to life, and to invite the community to see a fully produced, contemporary exhibit from the next generation of artists.”
During the first half of the semester, students surveyed modern and contemporary art. Then, for three weeks, they visited approximately 75 graduate student studios at Boston University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA). During the final three weeks, students chose the artists for their exhibit and created the show.
“In viewing work at each of the three schools, we became interested in our generation’s ability to stay personally connected to each other, despite distance and distractions,” said Writing, Literature, and Publishing student Ariel Goldberg, a senior who’s minoring in Visual and Media Arts. “We’re obsessed with electronic communication and the Internet and live in a state of digitized isolation; but the beauty is that we are so fantastically together in this solitude, and amid the fleeting chaos of humanity, we have taught ourselves to revel in our own eccentricities. We are adventurers, Occupiers, and individuals.”
Work from the following 13 artists will be displayed at the profiles of the [dis]connected exhibition:
Ryan Arthurs, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Amanda Brown, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Sammy Chong, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Laura Fischman, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Helena Hsieh, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
YouJin Kim, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Matt Kushan, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Tim McCool, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Doran Rivera, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Katherine Romero, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Jamal Thorne, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Carl Vestweber, School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Erika Wastrom, Boston University