Separate Board to Oversee Gund Gallery
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
For Hackbardt, the decision to host faculty shows was important both for the studio art department and the students.
“The faculty show enriches the students’ experience, but it’s also just a real community event where everyone comes and enjoys the show. It’s very interdisciplinary,” she said. “… This is a time when [students] can come out and see our work. The whole point of the Gund Gallery is to not have to only see work on computer screens.”
Even as the Gund Gallery has provided new office space for faculty members from the art history department, tensions have grown between the Gallery and the faculty over how to utilize the building’s four classrooms, all of which are under the purview of the registrar and the art history department, not the Gallery staff.
“It’s not exactly the way we would have planned it, but we are pretty happy with the spaces,” Dwyer said. “I’m delighted with the classrooms.”
The art history department requested a curatorial classroom during the planning stage of the Gallery. The classroom serves as a kind of “laboratory” where art history students can interact more closely with art in the College’s collection. The room recently housed sculptures for a comparison exercise for a survey of art history course.
“The exhibition mimics the public exhibition to provide a more authentic viewing of the material,” Dwyer said. “It’s more hands-on.”
The classroom is also a relatively secure, lockable space for housing art. Still, it is not without issues. Though the Gallery employs two dedicated security officers, they cannot legally monitor the art history classrooms because those spaces are not controlled by the Gallery staff. The art history department then must provide its own security, which is not included in its budget. Instead, the department turns to several student organizations to help them supervise the space.
Without more professional security, borrowed artwork can’t be shown in the space, Marsh said.
“It’s easy for these things to just walk away,” she said. “… I wouldn’t leave work in that space overnight. I could bring things from collections to, let’s say, the basement, temporarily. But I’m not going to put original artwork in there.”
The art history department and the Gallery also have plans to coordinate art history classes with future shows, according to Dwyer.
“If we were advised that there was going to be an Islamic show in three years, then we would very likely do a seminar on Islamic art to coincide with the show in the Gallery,” he said.
Despite some disputes between faculty members and Gallery administrators, everyone interviewed said they considered the Gallery’s debut year a success. Many touted the recent senior art major show as an impressive herald of excellent shows to come.
“I’m actually really impressed,” Marsh said. “That’s a big space to try to fill, and I think the students really stepped up and they hold the space really well.”
Hackbardt in particular stressed how impressed she was with the Gallery’s work putting on events for students across campus.
“The Gallery has thought of a bunch of workshops for students that are really helpful,” Hackbardt said. “ … They’ve thought of all these clever things that I just love. They’ve really promoted the student show. They’ve done a great job,” she said.
“Fundamentally, the Gallery serves the mission of the College, and it highlights the various kinds of work going on at the College,” Samhat said. “… The academic interests of the College will always be a priority and will always be represented.”