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The Carletonian

Weitz Exhibit Covers the Body

<alled “A Collection Embodied” in the Weitz Center for Creativity’s Perlman Teaching Museum, asks its students to call the human body into question through an assortment of recently acquired works. By exploring five sub-categories of Idealized Beauty, Social Body, Body Language, Identity and Body Politic, the collection represents the body as not only a human figure, but also a reflection of social thoughts and a representation of human interactions.

The newly opened exhibit was curated by six students who took the fall term “Curatorial Seminar” taught by the museum’s director and curator, Laurel Bradley. Moira Smith ’16; Camile Coonrod ’15, Evan Rothman ’16, Nora Munger ’15, Claire Pennington ’16, and Nora Liu ’15 studied the ways to bring out a collection’s strengths and acquainted themselves with the details of choosing an works for an exhibit from the College Art Collection.

When asked why the students chose to tackle such a universal theme through art, Bradley said “Raising questions about the human condition is one of the things that art does. It’s made by artists and they often offer insights about what it means to be human.

The work that is the most powerful often comes out of human experience in unexpected ways.

”According to Nora Liu ’15, the reason the exhibit’s pieces span different cultures, mediums, and historic timeframes was to address both the unity and diversity inherent in humans. “The Ralph Gibson photos focus on female bodies, whereas the newspaper print and gorilla print focus on people’s attitudes towards women. In contrast with these occidental images, the Japanese prints represent the oriental idea of human bodies.”

If merely passing by, the exhibit’s layout seems to consist of five separate gazes into different areas of the human experience, but a more thorough look at the gallery shows how the themes intertwine and relate as the way that the human body relates to identity. The well-lit variety of lithographics, woodblock prints, etchings, and silverprint  photographs on the walls surround the few statues, which add a more personal touch to the collection.

According to Bradley, the students were allowed to choose their favorites from any of the recently acquired works (after 2006) that would represent the College Collection as a whole, and some clearly had a personal connection to a piece.

“I really like the sculpture “Step One” because it echoes my own experience. Raised up in China and attending school in the U.S., I have been experiencing culture differences since my freshman year. Every decision I made is a “step one”,” said Liu.

Bradley had one goal for the exhibit: to make viewers aware of how students connected ideas often encountered in lecture halls to a variety of still objects that could testify to the range of human emotion. This new collection does exactly that, when it invites observers to reevaluate themselves in a new perspective and the ways we find meaning in ourselves.

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