Oppositional Realities, an art exhibition that explores the connections between artistic works, space, and culture, will open at the Huret & Spector Gallery at Emerson on Thursday, January 16, with an opening reception from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, which includes a performance piece by Boston University student artist Parastoo Ahovan.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will run through February 28. The Huret & Spector Gallery is located in the Tufte Performance and Production Center, 10 Boylston Place, sixth floor, Boston.
Oppositional Realities was developed by Emerson students as part of a hands-on course titled What Is Contemporary Art? It features artwork selected from graduate studios at the Boston University School of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Students in the Emerson class learn how to produce a public contemporary art exhibition—from finding artists and selecting works to developing a comprehensive theme and managing the installation.
“Curating an exhibition gives students an opportunity to articulate what makes their generation unique from past artists,” said Joseph Ketner, who teaches the class as the distinguished curator-in-residence in the Visual and Media Arts Department. He is also the Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and has worked as a lead curator at several museums and universities, including the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Contemporary art combines diverse notions of form, aesthetic, and concept.
Each piece selected for the exhibit emphasizes a different reality: some symbolize personal or shared cultural history, some point to themselves as objects in space, and some simply ask the viewer to contemplate a specific place in time.
Oppositional Realities includes a selection from The New Town, a series of images of the small town of Newtown, Missouri, that are taken via an online camera located on the roof of a town church. MassArt student Andrew Hammerand, who is behind the series, says his piece draws awareness to the age of heightened security and technological surveillance in which we live.
Justin Mendoza, a Boston University graduate student and war veteran, repurposes the tools he used to serve in his series, titled Three Guns. In one instance, he used the fabric from three different uniforms he wore during his service to create the shape of three guns.
“It’s rewarding for me to see the work of the next generation of artists,” Ketner said, “and to develop Emerson students’ abilities to see and articulate the voice of their generation.”
Alexander Hayes ’14, a student in Ketner’s class, described what he learned by helping curate the exhibit.
“We came to the conclusion that art cannot be described or understood in absolutes,” Hayes said. “This is a reflection of our generation’s beliefs and values, because we all strive for individuality.”
The Harry L. Huret and Ellen Marr Spector Gallery was funded by a gift from Judith Spector Huret in 1999. Judy Huret received an MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Emerson in 1969 and has been a member of the Emerson College Board of Trustees since 2001.