How to Look at Art: Student Exhibition Guides the Way

How to Look at Art: Student Exhibition Guides the Way

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Viewing a work of art may seem like a simple act--a uni-dimensìonal exchange of artistic information transacted between a solitary viewer and the artist.

An exhibition, titled "Framed," curated by Lauren Kaelin '10 in the Museum of Art, broadens the context within which art consumption takes place with an exploration of khe numerous agendas converging on the moment of art appreciation. 

Of course, Kaelin reminds, the artist has intent in creating the work. But often (and perhaps ideally) unrealized is the curator's intent in how, where and in what fashion to display the artists' works in an exhibition. The framer, too, by defining the art works' shape, makes an enorrnous if under-appreciated contribution. Finally, untold millions of details from viewers’ backgrounds alter their perception of the artwork and the context in which it’s presented. 

“When you look at art, your experience is guided by the curator,” Kaelin explains in her introductory notes on the wall of the exhibition. "Ideally, the curator is not part of your conscious experience; however, through the exhibition selections, their arrangement and presentation, curators are our unseen guides."

"Framed," on display in the museum's Nixon Gallery (second floor) through August 1, juxtaposes in pairs 20 samples from the museum's renowned permanent collection, all by American and English artists. Within the juxtapositions, Kaelin challenges viewers to take a close examination of the art, to notice details, question the artists' intent and scan the artits' works to find similarity among the pairs.

By doing so, Kaelin underscores the curatofs role in shaping--flaming--viewers' experiences. She assists the viewer by providing exhibition notes on postcards next to each display.



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