The Project Gallery, week of February 23, 2015

The Project Gallery, week of February 23, 2015

Today’s post comes from Rosa Bozhkov, class of 2017 and Art Center Student Docent.

Picture yourself in the third and final room of the XL exhibition. Weaving in and out of Joyce Kozloff’s patchworked patterns or Mark Rothko’s smudged blocks of deep orange, you turn to enter the rest of the museum, expecting to enter just any old room highlighting the Permanent Collection. It’s immediately clear that this isn’t the case.

Welcome to the Project Gallery, where two fifteenth-century Madonnas stride towards you from a comic book collage backdrop. Nineteenth-century Japanese landscape prints enter a faceoff with eighteenth-century Giovanni Battista Piranesi etchings of architectural construction hanging on the opposite wall. A Japanese scroll boasting looming inky mountains echoes the vertical figures of the Madonnas, one of limestone, one of wood.

The Project Gallery, week of February 23, 2015

The Project Gallery, week of February 23, 2015

The project gallery is labeled an “uncurated shared space” where work from the extensive collection is temporarily on view by request of faculty members who are incorporating study of the works into their various courses. This room is constantly in flux—and it often acts as an unintended forum for conversation between works of art from all movements and time periods. Placing a dramatic misty view of Mt. Fuji across the room from unfolding arches of cavernous architectural structures, for instance, creates a certain dialogue on landscape and the depiction of monumental space.

The expression uncurated in itself is curious to consider, because once art is placed in a space, in close quarters, no matter the objective, a relationship is established. Even though each work is meant to be regarded in its isolation, they all feed off one another, and create places of overlap and even narrative. The Piranesi prints, for example, have an added level of drama because of their proximity to the wild and busy comics—they could easily be some variation on Gotham City.

The plastered array of comic books is an installation by graphic novelist team Damian Duffy and John Jennings who are in residence at Vassar through the college’s Creative Arts Across Disciplines initiative. There will be an “Artful Dodger” event surrounding these comics this Thursday, February 26, at 5pm, where Peter Antelyes from the Department of English will be speaking about Jennings and Duffy’s work. Whether or not the Madonnas are still there, it is sure to be an engaging and enlightening talk, in an equally engaging and ever-changing space.

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