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How is aura regenerated when a mechanically reproduced image is co-opted into a new original? The Layered Image situates reuse as a brand-new term of art history, in which the significance of an original is altered and expanded through partial and whole reproduction.
Curated by Mo Chen, Zixi Liang, Isabella Galdone, Selena Shabot, Aidan Shaw, Lynn Smith, and Esther Tobe.
Image: Kara Walker, Buzzard’s Roost Pass, 2005. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. MH 2012.14.4.
Kitsch has endured through its familiarity. Its easily digestible emotions are ready-made, packaged for us in unabashed garishness. Is this, however, the potential danger of kitsch? Does its easiness prevent us from engaging meaningfully with its artifice?
Curated by Georgina Candia, Emma Orlow, Kristen Peterson, Zach Phillips, Vick Quezada, Micah Stimson
Image: Norman Rockwell, United States office of War Information, United States Government Printing Office, Ours...to fight for: Freedom from Want, 1943. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. MH 2000.577.142.INV
Reorient: Resisting Romanticism in Depictions of the Middle East questions whether the search for a veritable East is Orientalist in and of itself. Setting up a dialectic between Resistance and Romanticism, the exhibition considers the gaps that continue to exist between popular narratives of the Middle East and the realities of intricately nuanced cultures.
Curated by Amanda Bolin, Nolan Boomer, Theresa Mitchell, Procheta Mukherjee Olson, Camille Reynolds, and Lauren Thompson..
Image: Nusra Latif Qureshi, Of Birds and Fourteen Year Olds, 2003. Smith College Museum of Art. SC 2004:6.
Rewriting the Ruin argues that the ruin tells a story of collapse in the past as well as in the present and in a speculative future, borne from the effects of war, dislocation, abuse, tourism, and the dissemination of images. The exhibition explores the ruin through the terms of language: as an object, a subject, and a verb.
Curated by Emily Bumgardner, Anastasia Denos, Rachel Farber, AJ Forchetti, Kelly Platt, and Naomi Romm.
Image: Danny Lyon, Portrait of a Young Man in an Abandoned Room from “The Destruction of Lower Manhattan,” 1967. Smith College Museum of Art. SC 2009:50-67.
Activism and Politics in, of, and through Art. Investigating the political potential of art and tenets on the activist.
BM 1574. An iconographic analysis of a fourteenth and fifteenth century Ethiopian manuscript.
Food for Thought: Politics within Human Nourishment. A catalog of exhibits that focus on food, gastronomy, and nutrition.
MCHAM Journeys: Self-Guided Tours. Two thematic mobile tours of 140 Unlimited: Recent Acquisitions in Honor of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum’s 140th Anniversary.
Nereids Naiads New Brides: interactive pdf (open with Adobe Reader) and annotated checklist. On the constraints on feminine sexuality in the gynaeceum, or the women’s space of ancient Greece, and in representations of nymphs throughout art history.
The Voice Behind the Book: Book Arts in the Pioneer Valley. An oral history of influential book artists and mentors of the Pioneer Valley, with a view toward younger artists working with both traditional and newer processes.
Women in Power. An exploration of a nineteenth-century Luba axe and its role in community memory, divine power, and royalty.
Image: Folio 10V-11R, BM-1574. Fourteenth—fifteenth century manuscript, from the collection of Bob McCarthy. SC 2012:54-1.
How does the human body mimic or interrupt geological forms to create a new landscape? How does an artist’s intervention in the landscape call attention to how human activity transforms landscapes? “BODY [IN/AS] LANDSCAPE” investigates how conceptions of the landscape change with the intrusion of human forms and activity.
Curated by Shanice Bailey, Mariah Beth, Lisa DeAbreu, Chelsea Miller, and Sophia Pustejovsky.
Image: Huang Yan, Chinese Shan Shui Tattoo, 1999. Smith College Museum of Art. SC 2012:54-1.
Fields of Vision: Photography, (In)visibility, and the Constructed Landscape
“Fields of Vision: Photography, (In)visibility, and the Constructed Landscape” explores the cultural construction of landscape and the constructed perception of the photograph. How do photographers and their photographs construct visual, cultural, and ideological understandings and experiences of the landscape?
Curated by Jake Edwards, Elizabeth Beaudoin Gouin, Ethan Spielman, Ashley Williams, and Svetlana Zwetkof.
Image: Lee Norman Friedlander, Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. AC 1985.8.42.
“Hidden Truths: Disrupting Utopia” deconstructs the binary between the utopian and the dystopian with art works that are self-contradictory, ambiguous, and often misleading. Each work initially draws the viewer’s attention to its aesthetic qualities; with context, an alternate understanding is revealed.
Curated by Amanda Bertizlian, Laura Grant, Gretchen Halverson, Rhana Tabrizi, Ivy Vance, and Baylee Werline.
Image: Oleg Vladimirovich Vassiliev, The House with the Mezzanine, No. 20, 1991. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. AC 2010.158.
“betwixt: Judy Pfaff 1985/92” celebrates a period of bold experimentation in the work of Judy Pfaff. In these prints and sculptural reliefs made between 1985 and 1992, arrays of form, color, shape, line, and void assemble as frozen moments of chaotic vitality.
Co-curated by Shanice Bailey and Lisa DeAbreu. Presented in conjunction with “betwixt: Judy Pfaff 1985/92” at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum September 3-December 20, 2015, curated by John Stomberg, Florence Finch Abbott director.
Image: Judy Pfaff, Wallabout, 1986. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. MH 2014.8a-k.
“Fragments: Reweaving Interpretations of South American Textiles” reframes two textile fragments: one a Paracas garment embellished with images of angular cats (ca. 100 BCE-100 CE), the other a Tiwanaku cloth with a pattern of humanoid masks (ca. 600-900 CE), by comparing them with other objects from the Mead’s collection. Four thematic essays invite visitors to explore how different curatorial agendas alter the way in which an object is interpreted. By weaving these narratives together, the exhibition opens up new meanings for these textiles that are fragmented in form and history.
Co-curated by Ivy Vance and Keely Sarr, assistant museum educator at the Mead Art Museum.
Image: Tiwanaku, Strip of Tapestry with Designs of Mask, ca. 600-900 CE. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. AC T.1933.10
“Portraits, Power, and Persuasion: Chuck Close Photographs and Roman Portraiture” contrasts select works from the exhibition “Chuck Close Photographs” at the University Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with Roman portraiture. The project makes explicit the influence of the bold, immediate, and powerful Roman traditions on Close’s practice, as well as Close’s desire to be evaluated in relation to other portraits throughout art’s history.
Exhibition design by Ashley Williams.
Presented in conjunction with “Chuck Close Photographs” at the University Museum of Contemporary Art, September 11-December 6, 2015, and conceived through Professor Laetitia La Follette’s spring 2015 seminar on Roman portraiture.
Image: Roman, Faustina the Elder, 140-160 CE. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
“Spatial Symphony” explores the changing space of the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst through site-specific installations created by artists during the past 40 years. A dialogue emerges in examining the works in relation to the interior space of the Museum, creating an imagined, immersive symphony. The environment that these works inhabit is a discursive one, enabling the ceaseless interaction between artist and space, space and artwork, and artwork and viewer.
Curated by Amanda Bertizlian.
Image: George Trakas, Log Mass: Mass Curve, 1980.
The way a story is told makes a great difference in how the story is perceived. “Storytellers” examines the role of narrative in artists’ responses to the 2007 bombing of Baghdad’s al-Mutanabbi Street gathered in the physical exhibition of books, broadsides, and prints “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.”
Co-curated by Svetlana Zwetkof and Lisa DeAbreu. Presented in conjunction with “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” at the Hampshire College Art Gallery, June 18-September 30, 2015.
Image: Gary Harrell, Underground Library, 2014. Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition.
The Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang Collection, recently acquired by the Smith College Museum of Art, contains over 1400 prints, drawings, and watercolors. “To Ramble on Copper” serves as an introduction to the collection and includes the exhibition “Printing a Modern World,” a study of representations of modernity, urbanization, and regionalism during the etching revival of the early 20th century.
Curated by Jacob Edwards.
Image: Abbo Ostrowsky, Roofs, ca. 1940. From the Gladys Engel Lang and Kurt Lang Collection at the Smith College Museum of Art, Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. SC 2014:32-460
This educational exhibition explores the ways in which text and image have been used alongside or in place of each other throughout time and across cultures. Its goal is to highlight these intertwined relationships, and how they transform the way we read and see art, by exploring works from the Five College museums.
Curated by James Kelleher, Emma Kennedy, Caitlin Link, Emma McNay, Pauline Miller, Sophie Morris, and Emma Vale.
Image: Wang Xiao, Chinese Calligraphy of Small Scripts, 1833. Smith College Museum of Art. SC 1947:12-8.
“The Dense Image” conducts a reflexive examination of the changing and often overlapping roles of artists and curators in the digital age, focusing on the appropriated image and the way these appropriations alter viewer interpretations as new contexts beget new meanings. The title refers to the densification of time within a single work that causes reflexivity and transparency.
Curated by Lily Bartle, Hayley-Jane Blackstone, Daniel Perlmutter, Luke Pretz, Isadora Reisner, and Laura Ritchie.
Image: Suzanne Bloom and Edward J. Hill, Mona Lisa Postcard, n.d. University Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Massachusetts Amherst. UM 1979.3.
“Sometimes a Traveler: Women, Othered Bodies, and the Colonizing Gaze” seeks to challenge and confuse the ostensibly stable notions of subject and object, colonized and colonizer, and Self and Other. It examines the perpetuation as well as the subversion of the colonizing gaze, and ultimately asks its audience if art has the power to disrupt the colonizing gaze and subsequent objectification of women’s bodies.
Curated by Noah Street Dickerman, Nikolai Humphrey-Blanco, Emma Jacobs, Riley Kleve, Kwasi Tre’, and Charles Weisenberger.
Image: Lalla Essaydi, Les femmes du Maroc #14, 2005. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. AC 2007.13.
Exit Art, an alternative art space founded in New York City in 1982, had a mission to explore and support the diversity of perspectives that shape contemporary art and ideas. “Making their Mark” highlights Exit Art’s wide array of commitments through situating prints commissioned for a fundraising portfolio in a virtual environment.
Curated by Pauline Miller.
Image: still from “Making their Mark” virtual tour.
The Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) established Japan as the preeminent imperial power in East Asia. It also revitalized the centuries-old woodblock publishing industry in Japan, providing artists with new subject matter: explosions, naval battles, and advanced weaponry. This special exhibition draws exclusively from Ruth S. Nelkin’s donation of prints to the Mead Art Museum. This site allows viewers to explore the album, the loose prints, images of specific events, or the entire Nelkin gift of Sino-Japanese War prints in chronological order.
Co-curated by James Kelleher and Bradley Bailey, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Postdoctoral Curatorial Teaching Fellow in Japanese Prints at the Mead Museum. Presented in conjunction with a physical installation at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, September 13, 2014-January 4, 2015.
Image: Kobayashi Kiyochika, A Picture of the Naval Battle near Phung-tō in Korea, ca. 1895. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. AC 2000.385.b.1-3.