The Art of Youthful Exhibitionism
Last September, the Arthur Ross Gallery and the art-history department launched a new museum-studies seminar. That in itself was not remarkable; nor was the fact that it focused on the creation and development of an exhibition. What was unusual was the fact that it was designed for undergraduate art-history studentsand that it would quickly lead to their curating an important exhibition on campus.
On April 6, Leaving a Mark: The Art of the Print in 19th-Century France opens at the Arthur Ross Gallery. It will be guest-curated by James Hargrove, lecturer and Ph.D. candidate in the history of art, along with Penn seniors Lorie Chapman, Naureen Chowdhury, Joanna Kleinberg, and Lauren Stakias; junior Adrianna Kashuba; and Ari Meisel, a sophomore in the Wharton School.
As print exhibitions go, outside of museums and commercial print galleries, this one is large, says Hargrove. More than 80 prints by major French artists will be shown, and by combining figures of the avant-garde such as C╚zanne, Delacroix, Gauguin, Manet, and Pissarro with artists such as Daubigny, Lalanne, and Lep╦re of the French Academy, Leaving a Mark presents the viewer with some of the transformations that occurred in printmaking during the 19th century. The prints are on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Arthur Ross Foundation, and the private collection of Dr. Eric Denker of Washington, D.C.
The students themselves were responsible for choosing objects, developing themes, researching all the artists and works, producing wall text and essays for a small catalogue, and orchestrating the layout and design of the exhibition, Hargrove explains. They carried out these responsibilities with great energy and enthusiasm, approaching a large amount of work with a great sense of adventure. Significantly, he adds, the exhibition will be up during Commencement; it runs through June 9.
Art exhibitions mounted by faculty and graduate students have characterized art-history education programs at many of Penns Ivy brethren and are an increasing feature of our own university culture, says Hargrove. Undergraduate curatorial experience is less frequent, but has been a defining attraction for applicants to other Ivies and certain prominent liberal-arts colleges. He cites the determination of Dr. Dilys Winegrad Gr70, director and curator of the Arthur Ross Gallery, and Dr. Renata Holod, chair of the art-history departmentas well as generous subsidizing by the Arthur Ross Foundationfor making Penn a significant player in this field.
Copyright 2002 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 2/28/02