Undergraduate Work

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    "The Encounters Project: Teaching Art History Outside of The University" by Joanna Kemp

    This spring we challenged a group of high school students from Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy to create a public exhibition of original works. The History of Art and Architecture Department from the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students (PACES), joined forces to create the Encounters Project: Art in the City, to bring Art History out of the University setting and into the high school classroom. Through classroom activities led by undergraduates from the University of Pittsburgh, the participants were able to encounter the public art that surrounds them. Using more interactive approaches to Art History, we took students to some local public art sites to develop their visual analysis and critical thinking skills.

    After we had exposed them to some different sites and concepts, we gave them the freedom to create something to be displayed in a formal gallery setting. Using careful classroom observation and textual analysis of written materials produced along the way, we can trace the influence of our efforts on the artistic process of our students. The final exhibition at the end of the semester will showcase individual achievement and reveal the impact of each encounter on the students. An in-depth visual analysis of these final artworks will allow us to see how students chose to communicate with the public. The Encounters Project is a new program that explores the question: Why does the history of art and architecture matter inside and outside of academia? By looking at how students encounter and respond to art in the public and classroom setting, we are able to get a better sense of how Art History can strengthen the creative production and build the visual analysis skills of our pre-collegiate aged students. 

    Find out more about Joanna Kemp.

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    "The Display of Cylinder Seals" by Elizabeth Marriott

    Museums often display objects that were integral to their original culture but are now functionally obsolete and thus unfamiliar to the public. Engraved cylinder seals are one such object. Averaging at only an inch in height, a seal was made of stone or faience whose curved sides were carved with a design ranging from figural to abstract. The seal was then rolled into clay to create a raised design that is the mirror image of the seal. They served mainly administrative purposes; seal impressions on cuneiform tablets could authenticate the document or act as the seal owner’s signature. For this reason, each seal is unique; they were carved with a wide variety of motifs ranging from simple patterns of animals to complex ritual scenes. Although seals are a common sight in many museums that touch upon the history of the Ancient Near East, their small size and complex iconography are a challenge to display to the modern viewer.

    Because these objects are relatively common and can be seen as both decorative and functional, museums use several different methods to display cylinder seals to visitors. For example, the Morgan Library in New York City displays the seals chronologically next to a modern impression along with cuneiform tablets, emphasizing their connection to the history of writing. However, because the collection represents the eclectic interests of its founder, Pierpont Morgan, there are very few other Mesopotamian objects in the collection. With this display, the viewer clearly understands the original purpose of the seals but is less familiar with the seals’ place in Mesopotamian culture. Conversely, both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute frame their collections of seals within the context of a larger collection of Ancient Near Eastern artifacts but while the Met displays these objects for their artistic value, the OI focuses on the archaeological excavations in which the pieces were found.

    It is true that each museum faces different limitations in their display of engraved seals and that these limitations affect their display practices. However, it is necessary to study the different display approaches because although each museum has the same goal, to expose the public to these seals, their different approaches ultimately do not tell the same story. 

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    Elana Williams

    Elana Williams is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is majoring in the History of Art and Architecture with a minor in English Literature and is a part of many academic honor societies on Pitt’s campus such as Pitt Golden Key and Sigma Alpha Lambda.  She enjoys learning about all aspects of art and literature but focuses mainly on studying photography in modernity and Victorian novels.  Her interests outside of academia include running, cooking, and traveling with her family of three brothers, two sisters, and her parents.  After college, she intends to use all of the skills she has learned at the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a career in law.

    Elana will be presenting the paper "Representing Genetic Disease in Modernity: Rick Guidotti as the Contemporary Medical Photographer" at HAAARCH!!! 2014.

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    Julia Warren

    Julia Warren is a senior in the Architectural Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing a Bachelor of Philosophy degree through the University Honors College. She was a participant in the New York City Field Studies Program through the Office of Undergraduate Research during the spring of 2013 and was a Brackenridge Fellow during the summer of 2013. She has served as a teaching assistant for Approaches to the Built Environment and Perspective Drawing and has been involved with Plant to Plate, a student-run organization that maintains a vegetable garden on campus. She enjoys volunteering with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and spending time in its parks. 

    Julia will be presenting her paper "The Nature of the High Line: A Jacobsian Perspective on New York's 'Park in the Sky'" at HAAARCH!!! 2014.

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    Matthew Sova

    Matthew Sova is a junior History of Art and Architecture and Anthropology double major at the University of Pittsburgh.  He is also a German minor.  He has worked on historical archaeological excavations at Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison near Sandusky, Ohio.  He also was a undergraduate teaching assistant for the Introduction to World Art class.  He is currently working as an intern at the American Jewish Museum, a part of the Jewish Community Center of Squirrel Hill.  Last semester he was enrolled in the Museum Studies Exhibition Seminar. In this course, he and other students assisted Nicholas Chambers, the Milton Fine Curator at the Andy Warhol Museum, in curating an exhibition of Scottish contemporary artist Martin Creed at the University of Pittsburgh Art Gallery.  Matthew is currently working on several projects, including a study of Florence Cathedral and an independent project with Professor Shirin Fozi on Ottonian art and architecture in eastern Germany.

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    Stephanie Selya

    Stephanie Selya is a senior undergraduate HAA major at the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in Italian Studies. She is currently pursuing an Undergraduate Honors Thesis researching the composite photography of Australian photographer, Frank Hurley. She was also awarded the Milton Fine Museum Professional Fellowship, enabling her to work directly with Executive Director Janet McCall at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh from September 2013 to the present. Traveling abroad in the summer of 2013, Stephanie studied for six weeks in Perugia, Italy. In the spring of 2013, Stephanie was involved in an internship at the University Art Gallery with Curator Isabelle Chartier, focusing on managing the permanent collection.  Her interest in museum work began when she was involved in the Museum Studies Seminar Exhibition entitled, Face Value: (De)constructing Identity in Portraiture, in the fall of 2012. Stephanie has been the Vice President of the Pitt Club Field Hockey team since 2012, and will continue to be so until graduation in April of 2014.

    Stephanie will be presenting her paper, "Painting with Light: The Composite World War 1 Photography of Frank Hurley" at HAAARCH!!! 2014.

     

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    Sara Savage

    Sara Savage is a junior studying Studio Arts and Art History with a minor in Museum Studies and a certificate in Gender Studies. In high school, Sara worked as an art collection intern for the Friends of L’Hopital Schweitzer—a Pittsburgh nonprofit that sells Haitian art to benefit their hospital in Haiti. Sara photographed and edited images for their e-gallery, documented pieces for the annual inventory, and worked at the organization’s annual gala as an installation assistant and event photographer. Sara is currently interning with the University Art Gallery (UAG), working to generate a virtual tour of art works on Pitt’s campus using iBooks Author.  She is also an undergraduate teaching assistant for Introduction to World Art, where she has worked to bring together Studio Arts majors with beginner art historians in the UAG. With a focus on digital art and design for her Studio Arts major, Sara is especially interested in the digital design components of gallery work.  She has done numerous gallery event posters, including those for the 2013 Martin Creed exhibition. After graduation, Sara hopes to combine the design and art historical skills she has learned at Pitt and put them to work in a museum setting.  

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    Rose Savage

    Rose Savage is an artist, musician, and junior at the University of Pittsburgh. Double majoring in Studio Arts and Urban Studies, Rose is interested in how public art can shape, manipulate, and affect the built environment. She is currently an undergraduate teaching assistant for the course Approaches to the Built Environment, guiding students as they work with the built environment around the University of Pittsburgh campus. Additionally, Rose is minoring in Museum Studies and is a design intern for the University Art Gallery, where she is working to develop a virtual tour of the artworks on campus. In 2011, Rose worked as a collections intern for the nonprofit Friends of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti; there she photographed and inventoried artworks, helped with the installation and handling of artwork for the annual gala, and photographed special events such as the opening of Upside Down: Haitian Art in the Aftermath of Chaos at the Andy Warhol Museum. In the Studio Arts program, Rose’s focus is on digital design, images, and videos. Rose has also worked with sculpture and printmaking. Working digitally, she attempts to balance art as a physical process with processes of new technologies through operating behind and in front of the camera. In her works, she incorporates the urban environment, music, and human communication.

     

     

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    Madeline Sambor

    Madeline Sambor is currently a senior Architectural Studies major graduating in April 2014.  She is also pursuing a Studio Arts minor.  She is a member of AIAS Pitt and the Golden Key International Honor Society.  Madeline has held two teaching assistantships, for Approaches to the Built Environment during Fall 2012 and for BIM/Revit during Fall 2013.  During the summer of 2013, Madeline participated in Pitt’s Window Restoration program in cooperation with the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh.  She was also featured in HAAARCH!!! in 2012 for her collaborative installation for Approaches to the Built Environment.  After graduation, Madeline will pursue a Master of Architecture and focus her education on community design.  

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    DeAnna Robinson

    DeAnna Robinson is currently a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and will graduate in the fall with a major in History of Art and Architecture and a Museum Studies minor. This spring, DeAnna is an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Intro to World Art class with Gretchen Bender and also an education assistant at the University Art Gallery under the curator Isabelle Chartier. In addition, she is a Human Resources Assistant at the First Commonwealth Bank in Lawrenceville. After graduation, she looks forward to pursuing a career that combines her experience in HR and passion for learning about art.

    Deanna will be presenting the paper "St. George Statuette - The Excess of the Reliquary" at HAAARCH!!! 2014.

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