Gallery Visits and Wrap Ups

November 7th:

This week we visited the Silver Eye Center for Photography. We were fortunate to receive a tour from the Center’s Education Coordinator, Richard Kelly. Richard is also a very accomplished photographer and is currently featured in the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Picturing the City: Downtown Pittsburgh, 2007-2010 exhibition on display until March. It was wonderful to speak to an artist who experiences exhibition planning from multiple perspectives.

The show at Silver Eye is HomeFrontLine: Reflections on Ten Years of War Since 9/11, a photography exhibition exploring the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This visit gave us an opportunity to compare imprint of war: responses in print with another exhibit of similar subject matter. We found many parallels between HomeFrontLine and imprint of war, and left with a broader understanding of how curators might choose to address delicate political topics within an art exhibition.

November 14th

Our hands-on education continued this week with another excellent private tour, this time by Alison Brand Oehler, Director of Concept Art Gallery. Concept Art Gallery is a commercial gallery, auction house and source for art appraisals.

The Gallery staff had been preparing for an auction later in the week and we got a fascinating behind-the-scenes peek at the organization of this event (as well as an up-close look at some very valuable pieces of art!). Alison also spoke to us about selling art, appraising and how they transition the space back and forth between gallery and auction house. The visit to Concept Art Gallery definitely gave our class some new ideas about types of arts organizations and careers in the field.

November 21st:

The work of exhibition planners doesn’t stop after the show’s opening! This week our class focused on interpretation and education, including the use of visual thinking strategies in programs and tours. We returned to our own University Art Gallery where the interpretation team led us on a brief tour to demonstrate some of the education techniques we were discussing.

 

We wrapped up by completing an exhibition assessment tool developed by Beverly Serrell and a group of other museum professionals designed to assess exhibitions from a visitor’s perspective concerning its level of comfort, engagement, reinforcement, and meaning in hopes of directing museum exhibition developers’ focus on creating more visitor-centered exhibitions. The class discussed which aspects of imprint of war were executed successfully and what we might have done differently. One thing our class could all agree on was that we are proud of the work we accomplished and are delighted to give gallery visitors an opportunity to enjoy such stunning pieces of art.

  

Opening Reception!

        After a two-month collaborative effort by the Museum Studies Team, the new exhibition:  the imprint of war: responses in print was unveiled to the public at the University Art Gallery this past Monday night (October 31st). Although it was a rainy and chilly night, more than 200 visitors came to get the first look at the show and celebrated this eventful moment with the team and its instructors: Janet McCall, Nicole Pollentier, and Isabelle Chartier. The team got congratulations from HAA faulty the next day: they are “thrilled” with the “glowing success” of the show!

        On Monday night, the doors opened at 6:30 with young women (class members) looking out from inside the gallery with a sort of delightful impatience. Within 15 minutes, visitors strolled into each gallery, some with brochures, some with magnifying glasses, and some simply with curious minds.

        The artworks are displayed in the Gallery like this:

  • The Front Gallery—The Front Gallery features Jacques Callot’s prints from his “Small Miseries of War” and “Large Miseries of War” series.
  • The Rotunda—four of contemporary artist Sandow Birk’s large woodblock prints from his series “The Depravities of War”
  • The Hall Gallery and the Back gallery—contemporary artist Nicolas Naughton’s prints and drawings
  • The Side Gallery—local artists’ works, including prints from Susanne Slavick, Dan Buchanan, Joan Iversen Goswell, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Delanie Jenkins and Andrew Ames

Many visitors came to the show without knowing much about the process of printmaking. At the exhibition, they were educated by display cases full of tools that show the process of a printmaker’s work and they were encouraged to play around with an interactive online device to experience different techniques in printmaking. Nevertheless, visitors were not submissive receptors of the art works; they were inspired by the art and felt the impulse to leave their imprint on the back wall at the Side Gallery (post-its and markers are provided). More than a dozen comments, like “Make Art, Not War” have already been posted, and many more comments are expected.

          Around 7:00,when most of the visitors had finished their first round in the gallery, team leaders from each of the four teams, Lucy Peterson, Allie Ross, Steph Trum, and Christy Savage, each spoke about the mission of the class, the responsibilities of each team and the message we hope the show sends. Afterward, the crowd moved from the rotunda to the Side Gallery where artists Susanne Slavick and Andrew Ellis Johnson each gave a lively explanation of their artworks to the audiences there.

The night was made complete with exquisite food catered by Karen Hunter Catering, run by the mother of Colleen Bernhard, a student in the class. The guests formed long lines to sample crab madeleines, papaya and brie quesadillas, crepes with asparagus, wild mushroom tarts, filet morsels, and displays of cheese and fruit.

The exhibition will remain on display through December 5th, open to the public Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm, or by appointment by emailing UAG@pitt.edu

          Come to visit and leave your imprint!