QC Students Curate Dutch Art Exhibit
By JOE MARVILLI
While many of the art exhibits at Queens College are attended by students or feature their work, the latest project on campus was actually created and curated by the students.
|An ivory cane from the 17th century is part of the latest Godwin-Ternbach exhibit.
Photo by Joe Marvilli
“Re-forming the Image in Northern Europe in the Dutch Golden Age” is the latest display in the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, having been created by the college’s Art History and Dutch Art seminar students. While the museum often curates its own exhibits, the tradition of student curating stretches back to its beginning.
“That was why the museum was founded. For the students to be able to have hands-on experience with the art work,” Amy Winter, Director and Curator of Godwin-Ternbach, said. “It’s truly an experiential education for the students.”
While the 11 students received assistance and guidance from their professor, Christopher Atkins, the final say on the subject, theme and organization fell to them. All of the works displayed came from the museum’s own collection, including such well-known names as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Albrecht Dürer.
The overriding theme the students went with was how Dutch art contributed to the modern world as well as how it evolved from focusing on religion to covering secular material. One of the biggest events that facilitated this change was the Protestant Reformation. Due to this shift, religious iconography was less important than it had been in past. Rather, there was a sense to try and humanize spiritual figures instead of enthroning them. This new attitude created more storytelling and more humanization in art, which eventually ended with some of the genres of today like landscape, portraiture and still life.
A burgeoning middle class also generated a fresh approach to art, as it became something that many people, not just the rich, could collect. As a result, artists started to choose specializations and carve out their own space in the growing market.
This transition is displayed in the museum by looping around the room, moving from iconography to secularism.
“We brainstormed various major points that were particularly poignant to our presentation and the purpose to this exhibition,” Heather Simon, an art education student, said. “Once we agreed upon each section, we had to move around pieces to figure out how best to tell a cohesive story.”
For the exhibit, Simon worked on “Roses and Tulips in a Vase” by Otto Marseus van Schreik, “The Poor Common Ass (Tyranny, Usury, and Hypocrisy)” by Peter Flotner and “Untitled” by Roemer Glass. She is scheduled to graduate with a Masters in Art Education in Spring 2014.
Simon also wrote the wall passage for another section of the exhibit, which deals with early print culture in Dutch society. Located on the balcony, the display goes into depth about the different types of printing techniques. There is also a section titled “The Dutch in Queens,” which includes a map of the Borough with the original Dutch names laid out over neighborhoods and natural landmarks. A section on the influence of Dutch products in modern mass culture can be found upstairs as well.
“Re-forming the Image in Northern Europe in the Dutch Golden Age” will run at Godwin-Ternbach until April 27.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at email@example.com.