Each semester, a group of Art History undergraduates in the Museum Object course have a unique creative opportunity to develop and mount an exhibition in the WJB Gallery. This fall the Art History Museum Object class, under the direction of Ph.D candidate Jennifer Baez, is developing the exhibition The Thrill of the Hunt: Dynamics of Authenticity in African Tourist Arts, to open Thursday, November 16.
The exhibition will present a series of African sculpture, masks, and statuary curated from the FSU Museum of Fine Arts collection. Students will reflect on the tourist’s delight in “hunting for” and “discovering” objects created for the global marketplace. The exhibit will feature pivotal chapters in the history of such objects, from the colonial trade in Sapi ivories to the birth of Modernism, that have fashioned tastes for the African artifact. The show will also offer viewers a glimpse into the cultural traditions these objects evoke.
Student-curated exhibitions are an important component of Art History’s Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies program, encompassing every facet of exhibition development in the fast-paced microcosm of a single semester. Having curated the pieces for this semester’s show, the next crucial step for these students is gathering materials for mounting, printing, painting, catalogue production, and promotion. To support these costs, students have developed a fundraiser hosted by SparkFSU, a university platform that allows students to initiate and design innovative and entrepreneurial projects with financial support garnered from alumni and friends. The students are also designing promotional T-shirts to be sold at the November 3rd First Friday at Railroad Square Art Park.
The Museum Object class gives Art History undergraduates a complete experience in exhibition development, thanks to an array of people and resources: the involvement of College of Fine Arts faculty and staff, the generosity of university and local collections, the support of the community, and the availability of the WJB Gallery as a teaching and exhibition space for student work.