He Buys White Albums (Nov. 2)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to Rutherford Chang ’02, who will be in residence in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery for the free “We Buy White Albums” event on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 2pm to 6pm.

Visitors to Zilkha Gallery enjoy the "We Buy White Albums" installation by Rutherford Chang '02 during the Opening Reception for "The Alumni Show II" on September 10, 2013. Photo by Sandy Aldieri.
Visitors to Zilkha Gallery enjoy the “We Buy White Albums” installation by Rutherford Chang ’02 during the Opening Reception for “The Alumni Show II” on September 10, 2013. Photo by Sandy Aldieri.

Rutherford Chang ’02 purchased his first copy of The Beatles The White Album at a garage sale at age fifteen.  Since then he has acquired 856 more copies, all first pressings.  His collection of 857 White Albums is currently on display in Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery as part of The Alumni Show II.

The installation artwork, We Buy White Albums, displays 100 of them on a wall and the rest in bins, à la record store, that visitors can browse, admire, and even listen to on a record player. Mr. Chang also presents a new version of the album, which he created by layering and overlapping the 100 copies displayed on the wall.

When The Beatles released The White Album in 1968 over three million original copies flooded record stores.  Except for the band’s name embossed in small black font and a serial number in the bottom right-hand corner, the albums appeared in identical stark white sleeves.  Now, no two White Albums are the same, each having aged in its own unique way over the past forty-five years.  Some have yellowed more than others, most are scratched or water-stained, and many have been treated like blank canvases for doodles and personal notes.

Mr. Chang’s installation pays homage to the iconic album as a cultural artifact, an ever-changing relic from the past, an opportunity for reinvention, and an artwork in and of itself.  “They have all become these unique historic items,” says Mr. Chang.  “They all sound slightly different because of the age.”

Working with found objects has always interested Mr. Chang.  At Wesleyan he incorporated news publications and collage into his senior thesis, and he has continued to play with reinventing existing materials in his art.  In this way, We Buy White Albums is conceptually linked to much of his previous work, although the installation is far from a two-dimensional collage.  “It’s related in that it’s working with this already existing cultural material, and putting it together or rearranging it so you can see something new in it,” he explains.

The installation also signifies a departure from his previous work, which never before incorporated music or sound to this degree.  For his recent exhibition of We Buy White Albums at Recess in New York City, he created this new version of the album from layering the 100 copies displayed on the wall.  All 100 albums begin to play at the same time but then diverge and drift apart due to how they’ve warped and aged over the years.  Although most of the tracks are not drastically different from one another, some are as much as a minute off from others.

Just as each White Album continues to change and evolve, so does the installation as Mr. Chang adds more copies to his collection. Of over three million first pressings in existence, he has 857 but never stops looking for more.  “I suppose it [We Buy White Albums] could be ongoing until I get all of them, so I have a long way to go,” he jokes.

Initially purchased primarily from record stores, he now receives more and more donations.  “A lot of people came to me with their albums,” he says of his recent exhibit at Recess.  “They traveled really far to give me their White Albums, and I met a lot of people then who had had their album for forty-five years.”

This Saturday, November 2 from 2pm to 6pm, Mr. Chang will be at the Zilkha Gallery for an exciting performance event as part of this year’s Homecoming/Family Weekend.  We encourage you to bring your own White Album (if you have one!), or perhaps dig through the dusty boxes in your parents’ closets to unearth one.  Either way, we encourage you to bring yours to the gallery this Saturday and contribute it to this truly one-of-a-kind installation.

“We Buy White Albums” Event by Rutherford Chang ’02
Saturday, November 2 from 2pm to 6pm
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

Browse and listen to a collection of over 850 first-pressings of The Beatles’ 1968 album known as “The White Album,” and sell your copy to Rutherford Chang ’02. Mr. Chang will offer up to $20 for albums brought to Zilkha Gallery, and happily accepts donations as well.

Center for the Arts Stories: Allison Hurd ’11

Allison Hurd '11. Photo by Yannick Bindert.
Allison Hurd ’11. Photo by Yannick Bindert.

Center for the Arts Story: Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts was, undoubtedly, one of the most integral aspects of my college experience. I always thought of it as a kind of vibratory sanctuary where an incredible amount of creativity and exploration was happening. The activity that took place in so many of its spaces helped me realize a charged, yet meditative relationship to artistic experience. Gamelan concerts in the World Music Hall, Studio Art theses in the Zilkha Gallery, Theater productions like Big Love, Film thesis screenings in the Goldsmith Family Cinema, Pedro Alejandro’s site-specific dance No Eggshells/Outside — these are just a few of the resonating experiences afforded to me by the CFA. Furthermore, because of the CFA’s Creative Campus Fellowship, I was offered a remarkable internship with the Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group of Brooklyn, New York. Without the efforts of the CFA to foster relationships between students and artists working in the professional field, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity, which greatly influenced my development as an artistic thinker and doer.

Favorite Course: “Pathological Citizens: The Politics and Poetics of Disease in Latin American Literature,” taught by Lina Meruane of the Spanish department; and “Dance and Technology,” taught by Rachel Boggia of the Dance department, were two of the most illuminating courses I took at Wesleyan. Both introduced me to a world of knowledge and progressive thinking that continue to inform my scholarly pursuits. Through discussion as well as written and creative projects, Professors Meruane and Boggia allowed each student to access his or her individual strengths in relation to the course material, which, ultimately, led to profound internal discovery and realization.

Favorite Professor: While I was deeply impacted by the teaching of many professors, Henry Abelove has always stood out in my memory. My experience in his course on British literature revealed his unique ability to inspire the attentiveness and accountability of his students. Accordingly, the close reading skills that Professor Abelove helped cultivate in his classroom have enhanced my approach to learning beyond measure. The grace, good humor, and egalitarian spirit with which he engaged his students have, jointly, served as a daily model for how I hope to shape my own interactions with others.

Thesis Title: “Enlightened Visions of the Imaginative Form: A Comparative Analysis of Modern Dance and the Independent Cinema of Maya Deren”

New Trees at the CFA

Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts, discusses the four new trees planted in honor of the CFA’s 40th anniversary, to be dedicated at the concert by Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall.

If you’ve ever taken a stroll through the Center for the Arts courtyard before a performance, or sat out on the lawn for an outdoor concert, you know how important the trees are to the architecture of the CFA. Architect Kevin Roche designed the buildings around the trees back in the early seventies, making sure that the building equipment would have as little impact on them as possible.  Over the past forty years, many of the trees have died from extreme weather conditions and disease.  In honor of the CFA’s 40th anniversary, the University has planted four new trees including one right outside the window of my office on the second floor of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Here’s a picture of them planting it earlier this month.

DSC_6030[2]This beautiful red maple replaces a willow tree we lost during Hurricane Irene.  It’s wonderful to come into work every day and see that little tree blowing in the breeze, knowing that one day it will grow to be every bit as majestic as its older brothers and sisters in the complex.

There is also a new paper bark maple between Art Studio South and the Music Studios, a beech tree near the World Music Hall’s north stairwell, and another paper bark maple between the Skull and Serpent building and Music Studios.

Please join us for the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert of music alumni this Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm when the trees will be dedicated, or just come by and take a stroll and welcome them to the CFA!

CFA 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert:
Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi

Featuring Music Alumni of the Past Decade
Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$20 general public; $18 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $15 Wesleyan alumni; $6 Wesleyan students

Liz Magic Laser ‘03: Exposing the Absurdities We Take for Granted (Oct. 17)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff about Liz Magic Laser ’03, whose films will be shown during a free screening on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7pm in the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies.

Liz Magic Laser, “Distressed,” 2009, single-channel video.

We invite you to get to know the world of Liz Magic Laser ’03 (and yes, that is her given name).  She’s a performance-based artist living in Brooklyn, New York with an eye for the unexpected. Merging live theater, film, and video, her work often appears when you least expect it — in a bank vestibule, movie theater, or newsroom, or on the sidewalk one Saturday afternoon. Ms. Laser uses these public spaces as platforms for deconstructing the mechanisms of political melodrama.  By appropriating performance techniques and psychological strategies employed by the media and politicians, she calls attention to the ways in which public opinion can be influenced and shaped.

This Thursday at 7pm, there will be a screening of three short films by Ms. Laser in the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies.  A graduate of Wesleyan’s class of 2003, her work is presented in conjunction with The Alumni Show II which is on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, December 8, 2013.

The first film in the series, Distressed, features five professional modern dancers working hard to distress their new blue jeans on a bustling sidewalk.  In the second film, Mine, a medical robot performs a series of surgical maneuvers on Ms. Laser’s handbag, removing and piling her ID cards, spare coins, and lipsticks into something resembling an abstract expressionist assemblage.  The third film, Flight, presents a series of fast-paced chase scenes that blur the line between the chaser and the chased.  This eclectic trio of films reflects Ms. Laser’s interdisciplinary inclinations, which she says stem from the interdisciplinary approach emphasized at Wesleyan.

One of her former professors at Wesleyan, Professor of Art Jeffrey Schiff, remembers her as a curious, avid, and experimental student. He recalls a series of large color photographs that she made of caviar while in one of his classes, commenting on her creativity and versatility as a young artist. She had a knack for photography, but consistently expressed interest in other mediums, and later turned to performance art in her graduate studies at Columbia University in New York.

Recently, Ms. Laser has gained a lot of exciting visibility, and just this year she served as the commissioned artist for the 2013 Armory Show, one of the largest international contemporary art fairs. Also this year, she has had solo exhibitions at the Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, Germany, for which she received the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant, and at DiverseWorks in Houston, Texas.

Given the potency of her work it is no surprise that she’s gaining international acclaim as an artist interested in contemporary concerns. “Liz has found a way of investigating relations between artist and audience, and the mediated political theater that we are all subjected to by mass media, that is unsettling, disturbing and amusing,” said Professor Schiff.  “Her work has been very good at exposing the absurdities we take for granted.”

Films by Liz Magic Laser ’03
“Distressed” (2009), “Mine” (2009), and “Flight” (2011)
Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7pm
Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies, 301 Washington Terrace, Middletown

Center for the Arts Stories: Alexandra Provo ’10

Alexandra Provo '10
Alexandra Provo ’10

Center for the Arts Story: I found the Center for the Arts through an unexpected route: my extracurricular activities in the Environmental Organizers Network (EON). As an Art History person, I’d always been involved in what was happening on the other side of the CFA green, but it wasn’t until I by chance attended a meeting about the first Feet to the Fire Festival that I really got to know the CFA. I kept going to planning meetings, and before long I found myself co-leading a student forum on environmental art and helping with logistics for the festival. As part of the student forum, I co-created an animation about the carbon cycle, but the best part about the actual day of the festival definitely wasn’t seeing my own work: it was getting to see the work of so many artists and thinkers (dancers, musicians, biologists, sculptors, and more) and the Middletown community (professors, students, and citizens) come together. That was really when the value of interdisciplinary work became clear to me.

The Feet to the Fire Festival in May 2008 allowed me to deepen interests I already had, while simultaneously discovering things totally new to me. At the same time that my two major passions serendipitously came together, I was introduced to the related (but new for me) field of performing arts. That became another passion, and as a senior I returned to the CFA as the Arts Administration Intern.

Interdisciplinary work and cultural planning became dominant threads in the rest of my Wesleyan experience. Even though I spent most of my time in the same corner of campus (between the CFA and the Davison Art Center), I found a lot of boundary-breaking activity there, and that broadness defined my time at Wesleyan. Actually, it’s still defining me: I found my current path (library and information science) through a studio art class about information theory I took with Jeffrey Schiff.

Favorite Course: Topics in Studio Art

Favorite Professor: impossible to choose just one!

Thesis Title: “Notions of Method: Text and Photograph in Methods of Connoisseurship” (Art History)

Alumni Musicians Take the Stage (Nov. 2)

CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 discusses the Center for the Arts’ 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert 
featuring music alumni of the past decade Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi, which will take place during Homecoming/Family Weekend on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall.

This year the Center for the Arts celebrates its 40th anniversary and a number of Wesleyan alumni artists are returning to campus to join in the festivities. These alumni are photographers, musicians, creative bloggers, installation artists, painters, performers, and more. Together they represent a microcosm of Wesleyan’s thriving and diverse art world. They majored in music, government, art history, neuroscience, and just about every other subject.  They work across disciplines and with mixed medias, constantly pushing the boundaries of creative expression.

The Alumni Show II is currently on view in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery; and on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm, Amy Crawford and Eric Herman, two graduates from the class of 2005, will perform in Crowell Concert Hall along with other alums during the CFA 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert. Featuring music alumni of the past decade, the concert promises to be as diverse as the Wesleyan arts community itself.

Amy Crawford '05
Amy Crawford ’05

Having performed her senior recital in Crowell Concert Hall, Amy Crawford returns to that same stage with jazz ensemble STORM featuring guitarist Jesse Lewis, drummer Jared Schonig, bassist Ike Sturm, and vibraphonist Chris Dingman ’02. Ms. Crawford and Mr. Dingman did not know each other at Wesleyan, but they connected soon after when she reached out to him for some alumni advice on surviving as a musician in the Big Apple. Although they’ve become good friends and worked together on a number of projects since then, this will be the first time Ms. Crawford performs with STORM.

Ms. Crawford describes STORM as a quartet with incredible chemistry, and says she’s been itching for an excuse to work with them.  Last year she wrote, recorded, and produced a number of original songs independently.  At Wesleyan, she and the members of STORM will play from this catalogue of original material, with a favorite cover or two thrown in for good measure. She is excited to see how the studio-produced songs come to life in a live performance with other musicians.


Eric Herman takes the stage with Brooklyn-based band mamarazzi and his bass guitar. The band, which Mr. Herman describes as a “Wesleyan expat project” that traces its beginnings to 2008, also includes guitarist Andrew Aprile ’06, keyboardist Rob Cohen ’06, percussionist Sam Bathrick ’04, tenor saxophonist Tacuma Bradley ’04, vocalist Tavi Fields ’02, and drummer Andrea Belfiore. Not easily categorized into one genre, mamarazzi fuses together funk, jazz, hip hop, salsa, and Afro-funk.

mamarazzi draws from a range of influences, including Thom Yorke, Maceo Parker, Frank Zappa, Fela Kuti, and Wesleyan’s own Adjunct Professor of Music Abraham Adzenyah, who teaches “West African Music & Culture.” Mr. Herman thinks everyone in the band took at least one class with Professor Adzenyah, and they continue to incorporate what they learned from him into their music. Professor Adzenyah’s class inspired many of mamarazzi’s members to travel to Ghana, not as a band but on their own, and Mr. Herman says these trips have informed their music.

Both Mr. Herman and Ms. Crawford attest to the influence that Wesleyan professors have had on their music, careers, and lives. Ms. Crawford found a mentor in jazz musician and Adjunct Professor of Music Jay Hoggard. “I never considered myself a singer,” she says. “He was the one who pushed me in that direction. He helped me build myself into a better musician.”  Both alumni give a shout out to John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Anthony Braxton for encouraging them to pursue music.  “He was a huge inspiration for me,” Mr. Herman says.

Shaped by their experiences at Wesleyan, Ms. Crawford and Mr. Herman will help shape this year’s music scene as they return to the CFA for the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert. The concert presents an opportunity for current students to see what alumni artists are working on now and for our community to see how far our graduates have come.

CFA 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert:
Amy Crawford + STORM and mamarazzi

Featuring Music Alumni of the Past Decade
Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 8pm
Crowell Concert Hall
$20 general public; $18 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Crafting “The Alumni Show II” Exhibition (Through Dec. 8)

Director of the Center for the Arts Pamela Tatge ’84, P ’16 discusses “The Alumni Show II” and guest curator John Ravenal ’81, P ’15. The exhibition is on view in Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, December 8, 2013.

alumni show flux imageAt Homecoming/Family Weekend last year, I spoke with John Ravenal ’81, P ’15 about curating The Alumni Show II as part of the celebration of the CFA’s 40th anniversary. John is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Despite the swift timetable, he agreed and began the daunting task of crafting from the rich and wide-ranging body of art by Wesleyan alumni a selective and cohesive exhibition of seventeen artists. I’m excited for the extended Wesleyan family and the community-at-large to engage with the work and eager to hear the conversations that follow. As John writes in the exhibition catalogue, reflecting on his own experience, an experience shared by many who have passed through Wesleyan in some capacity:

“The building of the CFA and the value it conferred on the study and practice of the arts, while not uncommon for a liberal arts college, underscored Wesleyan’s commitment to education conducted in a spirit of free inquiry, without consideration for vocational utility, but rather dedicated to increasing the understanding of the human and natural worlds we inhabit. This lofty ideal, ever under attack as impractical, unaffordable, and even elitist, is precisely what has opened the door for generations of young adults to expand their minds far beyond what they even knew to anticipate, and to consider the arts as a valid path for a lifetime of intellectual as well as creative pursuit. The broad spectrum of themes and subjects explored by the artists in this exhibition underscores the wisdom of this attitude. It doesn’t seem a stretch to see in their complex, sophisticated, critical, and beautiful work a confirmation of Wesleyan’s core values.”

Join us in celebrating and expanding this vibrant tradition. The official opening reception for The Alumni Show II is Tuesday, September 10 from 5pm to 7pm, followed by a performance/installation [“Centrifugal March”] by Aki Sasamoto ’04 at 7:30pm in Art Studio North. We look forward to seeing you!

“The Alumni Show II”
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery
Friday, September 6 through Sunday, December 8, 2013
Tuesday-Sunday, Noon-5pm
Opening Reception: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 from 5pm to 7pm. Performance by Aki Sasamoto ’04 at 7:30pm in Art Studio North.
Homecoming/Family Weekend Reception: Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 2pm to 4pm. Talk at 2:30pm by Guest Curator John Ravenal ’81, P ’15, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Special Gallery Hours: Noon to 6pm.
Closed Wednesday, November 20 through Monday, November 25, 2013.

Celebrating 40 Years in 2013-2014; Tickets On Sale July 1

Doug Varone and Dancers will be performing on Thursday, September 12 & Friday, September 13, 2013.
Doug Varone and Dancers will be performing on Thursday, September 12 & Friday, September 13, 2013.

Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts announces the highlights of their 40th anniversary season in 2013-2014, including two world premieres, four New England premieres, and six Connecticut premieres:

September 6 – December 8, 2013: The Alumni Show II exhibition in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, featuring painting, sculpture, drawing, installation art, video art, performance, and films
September 12 & 13, 2013: Stripped/Dressed featuring Rise and the Connecticut premiere of Carrugi by Doug Varone and Dancers
September 13, 2013; November 16, 2013; and February 15, 2014: Dine/Dance/Discover, a new event designed to bring audiences closer to the work on stage before and after all three 2013–2014 Breaking Ground Dance Series performances
September 27 & 28, 2013: the Connecticut premiere of Who’s Hungry by Dan Froot and Dan Hurlin
September 29, 2013: the first of twelve recitals featuring the complete piano works of Wesleyan John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce, including two world premieres
October 9–13, 2013: the 37th annual Navaratri Festival, including the Connecticut debut of dancer Aparna Ramaswamy
October 15, 2013: the New England debut of Netherlands-based pianist Reinier van Houdt
October 25, 2013: Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, the “Hendrix of the Sahara”
November 9, 2013: the Connecticut debut of London-based a cappella trio Juice Vocal Ensemble
November 11, 2013: Blood, Muscle, Bone, a performative “teach-in” by choreographers Liz Lerman and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
November 13–16, 2013: Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull directed by Wesleyan Associate Professor of Theater Yuri Kordonsky
November 15 & 16, 2013: the Connecticut premiere of the dance work Pavement by Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion
January 30 & 31, 2014: the New England premiere of the theater work HOME/SICK by The Assembly
February 1, 2014: the Connecticut debut of the Ignacio Berroa Trio
February 14, 2014: the first concert in New England by Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko after winning the Gold Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
February 14 & 15, 2014: the New England premiere of Times Bones by San Francisco’s Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
March 8 & 9, 2014: the 15th annual DanceMasters Weekend, featuring a Showcase Performance by three dance companies, and twelve Master Classes over two days
March 27—29, 2014: the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States conference, to be held in New England for the first time since 1998

Tickets for the 2013-2014 season at the Center for the Arts go on sale on Monday, July 1, 2013. Tickets will be available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/boxoffice; and starting at Noon by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown.

Programs, artists, and dates are subject to change without notice.

This Weekend: Puppetry, Funk, Grateful Dead music, and more!

CFA Arts Administration Intern Monica M. Tinyo ’13 surveys this week’s offerings at the Center for the Arts.

What are you doing this weekend? Are you rocking out to the music of the Grateful Dead? Watching an outdoor puppet show? Maybe you are listening to an orchestra of laptops, or expanding your idea of art. If you aren’t, you should be. This weekend holds a ton of exciting performances, exhibitions, and lectures that are as diverse in subject as they are in medium.

On Friday at 1:30pm, get your dance fix with a free studio showing by the Philadelphia-based choreographer Moncell Durden, President and Founder of Dance Educators of Funk and Hip Hop.

Time Stands Still: Notation in Musical Practice Festival-Conference, April 5 & 6

If music is more your thing, there are a number of senior and graduate recitals, like Henry Robertson’s tribute to the Grateful Dead, “Transitive Nightfall of Diamonds” (Thursday at 9pm). You could also explore musical notation with international experts at the Time Stands Still festival-conference this weekend (starting Friday at 1:30pm). Along with symposium sessions and roundtables, there will be two concerts (Friday and Saturday at 8pm), including the U.S. premiere of London’s Vocal Constructivists, alongside Wesleyan students in the Toneburst Laptop & Electronic Arts Ensemble.

A little overwhelmed? Take a break and have some quiet contemplation with artwork at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. There you can see the brilliant art studio thesis work (Noon to 5pm). The students featured are so talented, you won’t believe that not one of them has yet lived a quarter of a century. You can also see artists taking action in a collection of protest posters at the Davison Art Center (Noon to 4pm).

Last but definitely not least is the outdoor puppet show (Thursday through Saturday at 9pm), with handmade puppets and complimentary tea. You really don’t want to miss Frog’s journey to prevent Tokyo’s destruction by enlisting the help of a lowly collections officer, Katagiri!

Instead of your normal weekend routine, come to an event at the Center for the Arts. I promise it will be more fun, valuable and out of the ordinary than anything you were planning!

Senior Thesis Exhibitions Start This Week (through April 21)

“figures” by Ilyana Schwartz ’13

For the next four weeks, Wesleyan will celebrate the talents of seniors in the Art Studio Program of the Department of Art and Art History.  There’s a new exhibition every week, with opening receptions every Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm. This week (through Sunday, March 31) features theses by Allison Kalt, Tiffany Unno, Ilyana Schwartz, Anna Shimshak and Christina You. CFA Arts Administration Intern Monica M. Tinyo ’13 talked to Tiffany Unno and Anna Simshak about their work in the exhibition.

Week one of the Senior Thesis Exhibitions includes diverse media, from process-focused wood blocking to conceptual photography. Earlier this week, Tiffany Unno and Anna Simshak took a break from installing and chatted with me about their work. Ms. Unno’s  “Excavations” disintegrates the boundaries between drawing, print-making and sculpture, and Ms. Shimshak’s “Translatio Corporis” is a photographic thesis that provides an intimate examination of Catholicism in a modern world.

Tiffany Unno’s work pushes the boundaries of what one can do with paper. When you first look at it, it seems so certain of itself; beautifully organized chaos. Ms. Unno managed to successfully create work that is conceptual without being intimidating. It is fascinating to hear that there was so much difficulty and irritation in her process this year. Ms Unno explains that her work “came out of irritation—a frustration that turned into something more.” After many trials in which she hated the outcome, she explains, “I decided to not think of my thesis as a thesis with deadline [and] to undo my critical learning and questioning everything I do. I was at a point where I need to fix how I make art now instead of 20 years from now. Thesis is a time to intensely explore and not lock yourself in.” She began to think of her work as “an extension of creating” that “unravels what I learned [formally].”

Ms. Shimshak’s work delicately investigates Catholicism in her own life and in the lives of others. “This photographic body of work was inspired by my upbringing. I was brought up Catholic, not strictly traditionally Catholic, but I grew up religiously. It was something that I grew apart from as I got older, and I began to realize, especially through art, that it did affect how I grew and how I saw the world. I was interested in what Catholicism meant with regards to modernity. How do you reconcile a 2000 year old institution with a modern society that really wasn’t conceived of when the religion was created? I have been spending the majority of my time with members of the church, mainly clergy members and nuns, to figure out how the individual is influenced by religion, especially living so thoroughly in religion (after taking vows). How does [clergy life] affect your perception of self and God?”

Ms. Shimshak focused on capturing the sentiment of individuals that she spent time with; she never spent less that a full day shadowing an individual before photographing them. The photographs are “not documentary but metaphorical—[there is a] heavy stint towards gesture. I think [gesture] is the best way to convey both a sentiment and an action, and to capture the psychology of a situation.”

Senior Thesis Exhibitions
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, 283 Washington Terrace, Middletown
Tuesday, March 26 through Sunday, April 21, 2013 from Noon to 5pm
All receptions are from 4pm to 6pm

Tuesday, March 26 through Sunday, March 31, 2013
Reception: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Allison Kalt, Tiffany Unno, Ilyana Schwartz, Anna Shimshak, Christina You

Tuesday, April 2 through Sunday, April 7, 2013
Reception: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Piers Gelly, Zoé Albert, Ally Bernstein, Ryu Hirahata, Charles Ellis, Nicholas Kokkinis

Tuesday, April 9 through Sunday, April 14, 2013
Reception: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Melissa Arroyo, Christian Lalonde, Emily Schubert, Kerry Klemmer, Ethan Cohen, Marissa Napolitano

Tuesday, April 16 through Sunday, April 21, 2013
Reception: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Alahna Watson, Adam Forbes, Caitlin Palmer, Arin Dineen, Jessica Wilson, Kevin Brisco