Contact: Margi Caplan, mcaplan@smith.edu


outside the [box] 

Collaborative Student-Organized Exhibition at

Smith College Museum of Art  July 27—September 30, 2012

Download  Press Release


Northampton, MA July 20, 2012—Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) announces the opening of outside the [box],the culminating exhibition of the Summer Institute in Art Museum Studies (SIAMS), a six-week intensive program administered by the Museum. This collaborative exhibition, organized by 15 undergraduates and recent graduates, will be on view from Friday, July 27, 2012 through Sunday, September 30, 2012.

Drawn from the permanent collection of SCMA, the 33 works in outside the [box]include contemporary sculpture, traditional decorative art objects, and works on paper. Many ethnographic objects by unknown artists are included in the exhibition. Also represented are renowned artists Larry Bell, Marcel Duchamp, Peter Feresten, Winslow Homer, Mishima Kimiyo, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg, Max Pechstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Eugene Smith, and Tatsuake Takamasu. Even with their diverse styles and media, these artists all share a common theme of including a box—or a representation of one—in their artwork.

Grouped thematically rather than chronologically or according to nationality, everyday or mundane objects are sometimes juxtaposed with boxes created for ceremonial, aesthetic, or symbolic purposes. Some works function as containers, while others are conceptual

interpretations or representations, merely making reference to traditional notions of what constitutes a box. Viewers are invited to carefully consider and ask questions about the objects on display and to think about them in new ways—outside the box.

The SIAMS 2012 class includes eight recent college graduates and seven undergraduates from 12 states with majors in art history, creative writing, German, history, history of visual culture, and studio art. These students have worked collaboratively to develop, design, and produce an exhibition at SCMA. At the beginning of the program, students were given a theme of ‘boxes’ and presented with 40 objects. From these objects, the students collaborated to create a cohesive exhibition focusing on the different functions of boxes across time and cultures.

Students were assigned to one of three teams: Curatorial, Education, and Design and Public Presentation. Mentors were assigned from departments within SCMA to guide students through the development of the exhibition.

In addition to planning for their exhibition, SIAMS 2012 students visited over 30 art institutions during their six-week program. These visits exposed students to a variety of career options within the museum field and were complemented with career exploration days at museums throughout the Pioneer Valley. SIAMS participants also had the opportunity to attend panels comprised of graduate students and professionals to answer questions they might have concerning their post-graduate options and future career plans.

The SIAMS program was founded in 2006 by former SCMA director, Suzannah Fabing. Her mission was to introduce undergraduate students and recent graduates to the function of art museums and the many careers within the museum field. Marion Goethals, SIAMS director, is the former deputy director and director of programs at Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) and is currently a consultant on museum planning, collection management, and museum effectiveness based out of Richmond, Virginia. Denise Gray, SIAMS associate director, is a consultant in museum education who specializes in artist-community partnerships, educator and docent training, as well as adolescent audiences. The program directors were aided by two teaching assistants: Chad Alligood, Ph.D. candidate at The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY, and Meg Bernstein, Smith class of 2008, who is currently pursuing an M.A. at Yale Divinity School, in New Haven, CT.

The annual SIAMS exhibition is made possible by support from The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

SCMA is open year-round to the general public, Tuesday—Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. For up-to-date information on hours, fees, amenities, special exhibitions, and programs (including free Second Fridays), visit the Museum’s award-winning website: www.smith.edu/artmuseum.

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