Undergraduate Work

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    Student Journal: Friendship across nationalities, Stories behind dolls

    Tianni Wang, 25 October 2017

    It is widely known that traditional handmade Japanese dolls are great choices as souvenirs for foreign tourists. They formed an important part of traditional Japanese culture for much of the nation’s recorded history. What many people do not know, however, is that dolls actually played an important role in the diplomatic relationship between Japan and the United States in the 1920s.

    At that time, the world was full of international anxiety because of World War I. Discrimination was increasing and successive immigration laws were passed. Finally, with the passing of the US Immigration Act of 1924, the Japanese found themselves entirely prohibited from immigrating to the United States. Into this bleak picture stepped Dr. Sidney Gulick and the United Federation of Churches of Christ in America. They initiated the Doll Messengers of Goodwill project which collected over 12,000 dolls with blue eyes from children across the United States. They sent those dolls to Japan, hoping to ease the tension between the two countries. The dolls were given a grand welcome in Japan, and were distributed to schools throughout the country. To return the courtesies, 58 dolls were painstakingly made by the doll-making masters in Japan and sent to cities across the United States. Among them was “Miss Kochi,” who was installed in her new home at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. Dr. Andrey Avinoff, director of the museum at that time, wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Oshima, the governor of Kochi prefecture. His letter reiterated the goodwill message Miss Kochi had brought with her: “…this presentation by the children of your province manifests the cordial spirit existing between Japan and the United States…”

    More than 60 years later in 1993, a group of 50 Japanese people from Kochi prefecture came to Pittsburgh to visit Miss Kochi and raise funds for the Japanese Nationality Room. With their contributions and the efforts of many other people, the Japanese Nationality Room was dedicated in 1999. From then on, dolls became an important part in the Room’s collection. Currently, a doll dressed in an elegant kimono is on display in the Japanese Nationality Room. A set of Japanese Kokeshi dolls will also be displayed in the coming exhibition, Narratives of The Nationality Rooms: Immigration and Identity in Pittsburgh, as well as an edition of Carnegie Magazine that highlights Miss Kochi. The show also features watercolor paintings by Avinoff, whose depictions of the Nationality Rooms reflects a deep interest in the kinds of international collaboration that made the Rooms possible, and have become a focus of the UAG exhibition.

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Spaces
    • UAG
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    Student Journal: New Experiences

    Emily Campbell, 3 November 2017

    Having never put an exhibition together, this experience allowed me to think about gallery spaces in a way I hadn’t before. Specifically, I realized that the way that art and art objects are arranged in a room is done in a very specific way and with purpose. We had to think in terms of not just how objects and artifacts would fit spatially in a room together, but; also if the story they were telling made sense.

    Each of the rooms in the University Art Gallery has been given a theme, with the Rotunda focused on Identity, the Hallway used for Sacred Space, and the Front Gallery dealing with Conflict and Cohesion. My favorite part of this seminar is not just seeing all of the beautiful and unique artifacts that were chosen by my peers but, getting to work with people in a way that I haven’t before. During the planning of the exhibition and the actual working as a team to put it together, we have become this tight-knit family. Everyone is working towards the same goal to make this exhibition a success and we’ve all helped each other out in the process. For instance, even though we are all put into groups and are tasked with different things, if I get done with something I jump over to another part of the gallery and see if anyone from a different team needs help, and vice versa. Of course, our professor Shirin Fozi and curator Isabelle Chartier have been there every step of the way to help guide us but, that being said, they’ve given us a lot of free rein. Giving us this independence and letting us make big decisions while still approving everything that happens and making suggestions along the way has helped me and my peers tremendously.

    Working in art galleries is my career goal once I graduate. This process has not only taught me how to work in a team better; it has also helped me learn about the whole process of putting an exhibition together and all the hard work that goes into it. I already feel more confident that this is something I can do in the future and I know my teammates are appreciative of the experience as well. I hope everyone enjoys seeing the exhibition as much as we enjoyed creating it!

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Spaces
    • UAG
    • Front Gallery
    • Front Gallery
    • Rotonda
    • Hallway
    • Avinoff WaterColors
    • Documentation group setting up for interviews
    • Interview
    • Second Interview
    • Interview with Michael Walter
    Front Gallery

    The class discusses where the timeline will be as well as objects.

     

    Weekly Update For Exhibition for HAA 1020

    It was a very busy week last week for the class! This past week was spent in the gallery discussing and finalizing the installation. We also walked around the gallery while the installation team discussed where they would be placing objects and asking for feedback. While in the gallery we discussed wall texts and where they would be placed on the walls. There was much debate on certain aspects of the Exhibition, this pertained too certain objects and where they would be placed and how their placement would affect the flow of the show. One aspect of the show that was discussed that is very important is that of the placement of the monitor that would be on during the show. We wanted to make sure the monitor and what will be playing on it, would not cause people to group up in front of it and cause congestion in the gallery. What room the monitor would be in was finally decided by the end of class with everyone agreeing on it being in the same gallery as the Avinoff watercolors.

    Last week the Documentation group began filming for what would be on the monitor during the show. They set up shop in the French Room in the Cathedral of learning and interviewed tour guides of the Nationality Rooms as well as Trainees. They also were also to get an in-depth interview with Michael Walter, the tour coordinator of the Nationality Rooms here at Pitt! The interview gave further insight into certain aspects of the Rooms and some challenges he has faced while tour coordinator of the Nationality Rooms.

    As we come closer and closer to the Gallery opening the working groups are in full gear creating and finalizing wall texts as well as tombstone texts for each and every object that is in the Show. While learning how to create these wall texted we faced the issue of making sure we did not write to much or too little, but just the right amount of text on the labels. This is an ongoing challenge each group faces in creating these texts as well as making sure each member of the group gets their opinion heard. Wall texts play a key role in a gallery and can be just as important as an object in the show, both the object and the text must match to make an effective message and one understood by the gallery visitor. It's our job to make sure this is done and the wall texts can be understood by everyone regardless of age and education, this show is for everyone!

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Spaces
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    Cyd and Kendall standing outside of the original storefront of the 'The Store', which is now occupied by 'Otto’s Shoe Store'

     

    The Untold Stories of 'The Store,' Verona, PA

    Author: Kendall Dunn

    Museum Studies Intern at Contemporary Craft - Fall 2017

    Through my fall internship at Contemporary Craft, I have been conducting research on the life of Betty Raphael, the woman who brought modern art and craft to Pittsburgh. Before Betty Raphael’s work led to the creation of what is now Contemporary Craft, located in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, she opened the city’s first modern art gallery called 'Outlines Gallery.' She collected and displayed artworks by renowned modern artists Alexander Calder and Paul Klee, among others. After this stage in her life, she found a crafts store in Verona, PA, titled 'The Store for Arts, Crafts, and People-Made Things,' and reopened it under her management.

    To learn more about the physical landmark of the Store and Raphael’s legacy in the Verona community, a group of student interns and staff from the History of Art department ventured to Verona, PA, about thirty minutes from Pittsburgh. We drove up on the main street, Allegheny River Blvd, where the small town began. Our purpose was to find the original location of the ‘The Store’ and investigate its history as art historians. With the town being so incredibly small, we were able to track down the original location of 737 Allegheny River Boulevard in 1971, which is now occupied by the shoe store, 'Otto’s Shoes.' (In 1973, the Store would relocate to a bigger space, a few blocks down the street, at 719 Allegheny River Boulevard, now occupied by the fitness center 'No limits. Sport performance').

    As we scanned the outside of the building we saw the store owner looking at us curiously from inside.  We met the owner, Larry, and learned from him that he knew little about Betty Raphael, taking over this store front around ten years ago. Before he moved into the building, his friend, Gloria, housed her store there, and before that, the whole entire building was used as a theatre. Larry also disclosed information regarding his father’s involvement in the art world when he was younger. His father owned Geisler Brothers Art Dealer on 5627 Penn Avenue in East Liberty. His father was mainly in charge of making safety and instructional posters for the steel factories in Western Pennsylvania. Later on, he offered Larry the family business but Larry decided to pursue shoe sales.

    As another possible lead for information about Betty Raphael, Larry then directed us to Gloria, the owner of 'Gloria’s Fixations.' Gloria, too, did not know much history of the store front and did not have any knowledge regarding Betty Raphael. But, she did direct us to our next destination: The Verona Municipal Building which houses a special history room of Verona.

    The History Room contained information about the railroads, the community, various pictures, objects, newspapers, and other documents. We learned that the Social Women’s Club was a huge part of Verona’s community. Additionally, there were many scrapbooks that recorded the crafts and arts that occurred in the 1960’s and 70’s.

    While we did not discover any specific mentions of Betty Raphael, we did enjoy learning more about the history of Verona. Now, when I resume my work at Contemporary Craft, looking through the personal scrapbooks of Betty Raphael, the visit has made me curious even more curious about the owner of 'The Store.'

    Explore Kendall’s SCALAR storybook project here

    Learn more about the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh initiative here

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

    Robert Sterns, “Verona Has a ‘Handy’ Approach to Art: The Sociable Workshop,” The Pittsburgh Press, March 4, 1973: 12. Betty Raphael’s Scrapbooks, Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

     

    Organizing the community through art and crafts

    Author: Cyd Johnson

    Museum Studies Intern at Contemporary Craft - Fall 2017

    Before starting my internship at Contemporary Craft I first watched a documentary, Tracing Outlines, and was immediately enchanted with its founder, Betty Raphael. How could I have lived in Pittsburgh my whole life and not have known about this awesome woman who started a modern art gallery downtown in the 1940s? After watching the documentary on Outlines gallery, I was excited to learn that at my internship I would be flipping through her large leather-bound scrapbooks and learn about other, somehow even more inspiring projects.

    After Outlines Gallery closed in 1947, Betty Raphael got involved with the Riverview Community Action Corporation, a volunteer community service organization for the boroughs of Oakmont and Verona which provided used clothes to people in need, either giving the clothes away or selling them at bargain price, but needed storage rooms for all the clothes they were receiving. Raphael reached out to a small craft store in Verona that was preparing to shut its doors, called “the Store for arts and crafts and people-made things.”  She agreed to continue selling the works of local craftsmen in the Store if they could also use the space as storage for the clothing.  

    Shortly thereafter, a project grew out of the Store called the “Sociable Workshop.” The Store’s original director, Beth Cameron Walter, described it as a place “where professional artists and designers work with students, hobbyists, retirees and handicapped people in a non-profit program for the hand arts." They paid unemployed people to come to the workshop and take classes with professional designers and craftspeople. The objects made in the Sociable Workshop were sold in the Store, and two-thirds of the profits were given to their makers, while the other third went towards other community projects such as a bus that ran between the boroughs and helped transport people to/from the Workshop. (A bus system which, by the way, is still in place today).  

    The Sociable Workshop grew into a master-apprentice program, attracting nationally known craftspeople to come in and create easily reproducible designs for people with some technical skills, but who lacked creative ingenuity. The objects produced in the workshop began being noticed by retailers, first with a line of Santa Clauses sold in several New York department stores (including a window display at Cartier), and handmade objects being sold at Gimbels, a local department store. After seeing the displays, Park Smith called Betty Raphael and asked her to produce 800-1500 pillows/month for his stores. This led to the expansion of the Sociable Workshop into a new space, and the employment of nine weavers, four finishers, a manager and two assistants. Despite Betty Raphael pouring her own money into it, the Sociable Workshop was always in debt. While they received some federal funding as an anti-poverty program, it was never enough. Raphael, with the help of the Riverview Community Action Corporation, decided that they had enough support within the community to fund-raise this and other community outreach projects. They hosted a Bootstraps Twin-Boroughs party to fundraise. Objects from the Store were sold at the fundraiser, and all the volunteer groups put their best foot forward in attempts to raise the money the government refused to give them. In the words of Betty Raphael herself, "Who can say how far a community or city neighborhood could go today toward 'taking care of its own' if the government would help rather than hinder their efforts?" 

    In scouring these news articles and advertisements beautifully arranged in her aging and delicate scrapbooks, a single quote from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette art critic, Donald Miller, properly summarized my findings: "No one has ever worked harder or more cleverly to promote crafts in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania than Betty Raphael. She deserves more success."  This got me thinking -if Betty Raphael couldn’t sustain this project, can anyone? And, are there any arts organizations, today, that are actively thinking about community outreach in such a powerful way? I figured talking with my co-workers at Contemporary Craft would be a good place to start, since it is Betty Raphael’s remaining legacy.

    The outreach coordinator informed me of programs they do a few times a year, as well as many connections they have in education with schools and museums. Contemporary Craft maintains their status as a non-profit, offering a free gallery space and  programs that work in schools and with the women’s shelter in Pittsburgh. I understand that Betty Raphael struggled to secure funding in the 1970s, and I can’t imagine that getting government funding for a project of the magnitude of the Sociable Workshop would be any easier in 2017…

    Is it still possible? I am now determined to find out. 

    Explore Cyd’s SCALAR storybook project here

    Learn more about the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh initiative here

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
    • African Heritage Room Ceremonial Key
    • class goes to the Frick Library to see Avinoff water colors
    • Possible Posters
    African Heritage Room Ceremonial Key

    This is a close up of the ceremonial key given to the committee after the Dedication ceremony.

     

    2017 HAA 1020 Museum Studies Exhibition Seminar!

    Hello and welcome to HAA 1020 Exhibition Seminar of 2017 blog!

    This blog is the place to find out all the information and highlights from the classes progress thus so far in the Exhibition. This year’s theme is centered around the Nationality Rooms here at the Cathedral of Learning. The Exhibition theme is The Narrative of the Nationality Rooms: Immigration and Identity in Pittsburgh.  To tackle this theme the class has been split up into different working groups that have their own goals in mind that correlate to the main theme. The working groups are identity, visual knowledge and sacred spaces. Each group has been working diligently in the past few weeks to gather information and research at the archives as well as the Special Collections in the Hillman.  

    In the past week the class has started the second phase of the exhibition, from the research phase to now instillation and getting the gallery ready. We all have now joined additional groups that have different jobs for getting the show ready in the gallery in Frick Fine Arts. Again, we were split up into three different groups to achieve this task. The groups are instillation, documentation and publication. We have made great steps in finalizing certain parts of the show, that being the poster, postcard and the catering, which we all know is the tastiest part of this whole thing!

    This blog will be updated two to three times a week, one post will be an overall update on the Exhibition and the class.  The other posts will be submitted by students in the class and will discuss something interesting or highlight achievements they themselves have done or want to convey in deeper detail for all to read!

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Spaces
    • UAG

    The front of Benjamin Franklin House. It is a Georgian period exterior (from the 1730s). The house is Grade I listed, the same as Buckingham Palace, meaning that nothing can be changed on the interior or exterior of it.

     

    Digging Up Bones and Revolutionary History at the Benjamin Franklin House

    Author: Darcy Foster

    Summer Study Abroad scholarship 2017 - Women’s International Club Scholarship (London, England)

    Few people know that Benjamin Franklin lived in London for nearly 20 years before the American Revolution. My good fortune was to intern for six weeks at the lodger house in central London where he lived. The Benjamin Franklin House is the world's only remaining Franklin residence and was converted into a museum, in 2006, on the 300th anniversary of his birth.

    Being a relatively small museum with only four staff members including the director, I was given a wider range of work experiences than is possible at a larger site. The house itself was the artifact; the staff created an actress-led tour to help visitors imagine how the rooms were used. This tour consisted of interactive projections with the actress tour guide and audio recordings that included excerpts from some of Franklin’s letters. 

    My role was selling tickets and introducing the tour to visitors by discussing the history of the house and Benjamin Franklin’s role as a lobbyist in London in the 1750s-1770s. I also helped with education days for nearby schools and researched school outreach programs. In conducting research for these programs, I was able to illuminate Ben Franklin’s role in the politics at the time of the revolution, noting his activities with Boston Tea Party by searching through an online archive of his letters, managed by Yale University.

    The House’s social media presence is already pretty strong, but they needed help programming tweets for the future. So, thinking of ways that their social media could reach a wider audience, I started using the hashtag #MuseumMondays. Now some of their tweets are linked to other museums, giving the House the opportunity for more exposure.

    This internship culminated in an article I wrote for the newsletter discussing a discovery around the anatomist Thomas Hewson, who lived in the house with Franklin (Hewson had married the landlady’s daughter). Museum staff discovered that Hewson ran an anatomy school out of the house, when they were digging a hole to check the foundation and found hundreds of human and animal bones buried in what would have been the garden at that time. The bones were excavated and dated back to the late 1700s when Franklin lived at the house. Staff believe that Hewson had buried the bones in the garden to avoid raising suspicion as he was probably illegally obtaining his cadavers from grave robbers. In the article I wrote about the anatomy school itself and how it changed hands throughout the years. The anatomists running the facility would often catch diseases from the cadavers, and pass away. 

    This internship abroad was a phenomenal experience. Working with native Londoners was a rich cultural experience, and working in a small museum exposed me to the full spectrum of museum services.  As a result, I hope to pursue a career as a curator, and seeing how a small museum like the Benjamin Franklin House operates will be extremely beneficial in the future. 

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh
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    Summer Internship at the Kluge-Ruhe

    Author: Imani Williford

    Summer Curatorial Research Project in Indigenous Arts at the University of Virginia

    As a part of The Leadership Alliance’s Undergraduate Summer Research program, I had the opportunity to participate in the Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative Internship Program for eight weeks in order to study Indigenous art and increase my curatorial experience. Under the tutelage of Dr. Henry Skerritt, curator of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection and Dr. Adriana Greci Green, Curator of the Indigenous Arts of the Americas at the Fralin Museum of Art at University of Virginia, me and four other students curated a full scale exhibition of Aboriginal Art at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia.

    I worked with four out of the 26 pieces that the Kluge-Ruhe had recently acquired as a gift from Stephen and Agatha Luczo. Despite having no experience with Aboriginal Art, my prior knowledge from HAA courses and undergraduate research, made me well aware of the history of how museums and the disciple of History of Art treat’s Art by marginalized groups. The three main questions guiding my curatorial process were: What is Aboriginal Art? How do I approach it? And what did I want my audience to learn? The answers to my questions came after six weeks of research.

    I determined that Aboriginal Art is a presence of each artist’s respective homeland and their active engagement with memories of sites they left behind. While my approach was to rooted in the idea that despite displacement, colonization and the western hierarchy of art, Aboriginal Art should be approached as being active in time, by understanding and paying attention to the artistic technique and subject matter of the artists and Art. After grasping my understanding and approach to Aboriginal Art, I wanted my audience to learn that Aboriginal art is not a record of the past but a living expression that constantly participates with time by upholding and utilizing the power of experience from of time.

    Over the course of the program I was able to answer these questions through: conducting independent research, collaborating with my fellow undergraduate colleagues to create panels, labels, and titles and mock exhibitions, conducting field work by taking field trips to Virginia area museums, giving tours and talks to visitors and contributing an essay based on the artists and works that I studied over the course of the program which was included in a published exhibition catalog. Additionally, before the opening of the exhibit, some of my colleagues and I were interviewed by Australian Broadcasting Company’s Brooke Wylie, to talk about the works in the exhibit and our experience as curators. After six and a half weeks of preparation the exhibition, Song’s Of A Secret Country, opened at the Kluge-Ruhe.

    The program fully concluded about a week after our exhibition with The Leadership Alliance’s annual summer undergraduate research conference in Harford, Connecticut, at the Connecticut Convention Center. At the conference my colleagues and I individually presented our findings and curatorial process to fellow undergraduate researchers, professors, mentors, Leadership Alliance alumni, and faculty of participating Leadership Alliance schools. Overall the experience of curating an exhibition and presenting at a conference provided a deeply rewarding experience that has broadened and bolstered my future plans for continuing my studies in the History of Art.

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

    An ancient camel’s nametag and a small knife, both forged from meteorites. (National Museum of Natural History)

     

    Summer at the Smithsonian: Adventure Behind (Almost) Every Door

    Author: Natalie Gomez

    Intern and Docent Programs Intern at the National Portrait Gallery

    They told me I was the Intern and Docent Programs intern, so I cracked my knuckles with a sigh on my first day as I sat at the computer, ready to answer emails nonstop for the next eight weeks.  It would soon dawn on me that it was those very emails that would allow me to taste any and every part of life at the Smithsonian I desired.

    I published my own blog post and helped kick start an interview series on the National Portrait Gallery website, met with world-renowned geologists and rare book librarians to learn about (and even touch!) their work, received personal tours from nationally revered curators at the National Portrait Gallery, crept through the secret and dusty back hallways of the National Museum of Natural History, and all because I asked. The Smithsonian is a place of wonder, of curiosity, and of great (if not infinite) knowledge, all shrouded by a visitor-imposed sense of mystery and foreboding. My time with the Smithsonian led me to realize that the promise and mission upon which we were founded, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” makes our vast collections and almost inconceivable collective knowledge accessible to those who have the courage to seek it.

    Though I was given permission to create projects with any of our staff at the National Portrait Gallery (an extremely historic building that itself merits a blog post), I was assigned two main tasks for the summer. My first task was to edit and reinvent the Docent Manual. It acts as a guide for each incoming volunteer tour giver (a surprisingly prestigious and competitive position, filled with everyone from art teachers to engineers to former covert government agents). My second and perhaps most important task was to create a sense of community between interns and plan programs for us to attend. This ranged from deciding on (or organizing) lectures by professionals across the Smithsonian to planning sightseeing tours in the Capitol or lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian’s award-winning cafeteria. Almost every day of each week held plans for exciting, Smithsonian-unique experiences, all no more than a metro stop or a fifteen-minute walk away.

    Though the “fieldtrips” were frequent and extensive, the Smithsonian encouraged staff to remember who we were: young adults itching to be invited into any and every locked laboratory and Staff Only entrance to see that which we once thought unseeable. And the invitations were there, some hidden a bit more obscurely than others. Whether it took researching museum calendars or twenty minutes of deep breathing before writing an email to a complete stranger for permission to shadow them, the Smithsonian left no question unanswered and no query within reason unfulfilled. Though some of the world’s brightest, wisest, and most published have offices behind our locked doors, those doors will open with enthusiasm and graciousness for inquisitive minds who have a bit of courage, a bunch of persistence, and a big interest in increasing (and diffusing) knowledge of their own.

    Learn more about the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh initiative here

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    The Andy Warhol Museum: The Legacy of an Icon

    Author: Leslie Rose

    Milton Fine Museum Profession Fellowship at The Andy Warhol Museum - Summer 2017

    Recently, I have heard one of the truest statements that I will probably ever come to understand: “Once you’ve got The Warhol bug, you’ve got it for life.” This “bug” is much more than just an admiration for the iconic artist. It’s appreciation for all that he and his legacy, The Andy Warhol Museum, represents.

    Until my fellowship with The Warhol, I didn’t fully comprehend the importance of such an institution. I respected and enjoyed Warhol’s work as much as any other artist, but this museum is far more than a single artist museum. As the University of Pittsburgh’s Fine Foundation Fellow for the summer, I had the opportunity to work with the Warhol’s chief curator, Jose Diaz, and Milton Fine curator, Jessica Beck. My experiences in this internship opened my eyes to the necessity of The Andy Warhol Museum and institutions like it. In almost every possible way, from its programs and publications to its exhibitions and staff, The Warhol provides an inclusive environment and enriching content that generates a dialogue amongst the people of the Pittsburgh community and thousands of visitors from around the world. The museum brings together people from all walks of life, something that I believe people need in today’s divisive social and political atmosphere. It is not just me taking notice.

    One way The Andy Warhol Museum promotes inclusivity is through their staff. The Warhol received recognition by Ithaka S+R as one of eight institutions in the country striving to make the museum world more open to marginalized groups. I participated in Ithaka S+R’s research interviews and when learning of the other museum in that list, Brooklyn Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Detroit Institute of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Spelman College Museum (Atlanta), and the Studio Museum in Harlem, I was elated that the Warhol ranked among them. It thrilled me that I was a part of an institution that made diversity a priority. As faces and voices of the institution, a diverse staff means numerous perspectives are being explored and welcomed.

    Through my fellowship, I was able to assist the curatorial team on their upcoming exhibitions. With each project, I learned more of what it truly means to carry on Warhol’s legacy. This legacy means more than finding artists who similarly practiced art, but it is Warhol’s mindset—critiquing and questioning today’s culture head on. The 2017 Spring show, Firelei Baez: Bloodlines featured the works of contemporary Dominican artist Firelei Baez, who’s work tackled past and present understandings of race, power and beauty. In the fall of this year, The Warhol will open Farhad Moshiri: Go West, which will showcase the works of Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri. Throughout my internship, my primary focus was Go West and I helped to create an exhibition catalogue and didactic wall labels. Moshiri’s work explores Iranian traditions, the appeal and influence of Western culture, and how people have come to define their own cultural identities. In the wake of recent, caustic, political rhetoric, aimed to make people’s differences seem like dangers, the museum finds that Moshiri’s work highlights the commonalities between the East and West. Addressing complex current issues of identity, race, power, The Warhol aims to bridge gaps, acknowledge, and celebrate people’s differences through exhibitions and events such as these.

    My time at The Andy Warhol Museum has taught me more than I can imagine— Andy Warhol’s life and work, working with contemporary artists, planning an exhibition, and how a museum of this size operates on a day to day basis. It was the museum’s mission, continuing Warhol’s legacy and making it accessible to all people, that has made the greatest impact on me and is something that I will carry with me.

    Learn more about the Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh initiative here

    Categories: 
    • Academic Interns
    • Undergraduate Work
    • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

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