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Art and Art History

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ART_DEPARTMENT

Last Make/Shift Exhibition for Spring 2016

Grinnell College studio art students will present their art and give short artist talks at free, public events throughout May in the Make/Shift Space at 928 Main St., Grinnell.

The exhibition "Formulations," which includes new artwork from Grinnell College studio art classes, will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, in the Make/Shift Space. It will feature works in various mediums, including collages, 3D printing objects, drawings, sculptures, and more:

  • Color Construction by Introduction to the Studio students and new work by Print Media students, taught by Matthew Kluber, associate professor of art
  • Collages from Mixing Forms, taught by Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art
  • 3D Printing Objects from Introduction to Sculpture, taught by Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art
  • Drawings from Introduction to Drawing, taught by Chen

Also on May 11 — the opening day of "Formulations " — the Make/Shift Space will host "140 Seconds," featuring 13 fast-paced artist talks, starting at 7 p.m. Grinnell College students enrolled in a site-specific studio art seminar taught by Associate Professor of Art Lee Emma Running will each give a 140-second artist talk accompanied by six images of their choice.

The last Make/Shift Space exhibition of the semester, "Beautiful Sunset," will open from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. The exhibition will feature artwork by graduating seniors. The range of work includes painting, drawing, print media, sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Most of these works will be on display through Tuesday, May 24.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Dutch Global Horizons and Phi Beta Kappa

Larry SilverLarry Silver, Farquhar Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania, will present a Scholars' Convocation, "Dutch Global Horizons," at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 28, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. The event is free and open to the public.

Silver's presentation is part of Grinnell's Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program. New members of Phi Beta Kappa will be announced at the beginning of the convocation.

Silver describes his presentation as an exploration of the imagery of the seaborne empire of the Netherlands during the Golden Age of the 17th century, when Dutch ships plied the oceans and established commercial and political links with bold Old World Asia and New World Latin America. He also notes that images of India and East Asia, as well as the short-lived Dutch colony in Brazil, permitted armchair travelers in Amsterdam to experience the globe as never before.

Silver, who received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University, is a specialist in painting and graphics of Northern Europe. He focuses primarily on works produced in Germany and the Netherlands during the era of Renaissance and Reformation. He has served as president of the College Art Association and the Historians of Netherlandish Art. He recently was honored with the University of Pennsylvania’s Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence. 

His publications include Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain, Rembrandt’s Faith, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes, Hieronymus Bosch and a general survey, Art in History. He has organized a number of print exhibitions, among them Grand Scale: Monumental Prints in the Age of Dürer and Titian and Graven Images, dealing with professional engravers of the 16th-century Netherlands.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Room 101 in the Rosenfield Center is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Open Studio Event at Make/Shift Space

Grinnell College's studio arts faculty will conduct a free and open studio event on Saturday, April 23, for people of all ages and skill levels interested in creating drawings and collages.  

The event, which is free and includes all materials, will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at Make/Shift Space, 928 Main St., Grinnell.

Make/Shift Space is a temporary downtown space for Grinnell College art students and faculty to hold rotating exhibitions, offer workshops for the community, and work on art in an off-campus setting.

For more information, contact Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art.

Make/Shift Space to be in Masonic Temple

Grinnell College has leased the vacant main floor of the Masonic Temple at 928 Main St. in downtown Grinnell, for March, April, and May. During this time, art faculty members will teach several classes. Students will develop a variety of works and installations, then showcase them during pop-up shows.

The first pop-up show at Make/Shift Space will feature works by students in an advanced seminar on Site Specificity and in Intro to Sculpture. Set for Thursday, March 17, the event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 5 to 7 p.m.

The lease with the Masonic Lodge, which occupies the upper floor of the 99-year-old brick building, provides about 5,000 square feet. The new space will give students the opportunity to spread out and create installations and other large works that will not fit in the Art and Art History Department's current facilities in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

"The Make/Shift Space offers students a valuable opportunity to have their work away from a formal academic setting and out in front of the public," said Matthew Kluber, associate professor of art and chair of the department. "It changes they way they see the relationship of their work and ideas to the wider world — they begin to see themselves as artists."

Additional pop-up exhibitions featuring works from an introductory course, a collage course, and other studio classes as well as free workshops for community members of a variety of ages will be scheduled throughout the rest of the spring semester. Possible workshops and demonstrations include 3D printing, "Re-Mix: Collage as Cultural Practice," screenings of videos made by art students, talks by student artists, and drop-in-and-draw sessions.  

"It's exciting to gain such a large space downtown, where we will have high visibility on Main Street," said Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art. "We are happy to be activating a quiet space that has been vacant for more than two years, and we want to involve local residents in this new venture.

"For example," Chen added, "we want passersby to stop and look into the large, storefront windows to watch students creating works of art. Having a public audience will inspire our students and elevate their projects."

All studio faculty and staff of the Art and Art History Department have been invited to make use of the Masonic Temple. In addition to Chen and Kluber, faculty and staff members initially working there will be Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art; Lee Running, associate professor of art;  and Andrew Orloski, studio art technician.

About four years ago Chen's sculpture class conducted pop-up shows at two downtown locations, 925 Broad St. and the basement of 800 Fourth Ave. The space was donated by Bill Rozendaal of Rozendaal Rentals and Bruce Blankenfeld of Westside Diner, and arranged through local real estate agent Matt Karjalahti. "It was a wonderful experience for the students," Chen recalled. "We had more than 100 people attend the show. We are eager to expand on that success in our new and larger venue in the Masonic Temple."

John Kalkbrenner, assistant vice president for auxiliary services and economic development at Grinnell College, negotiated the lease for the Masonic Temple space. Although no plan beyond the three-month rental has been made for a more permanent College space downtown, he said, "We are treating this as an experiment. The studio art faculty will be tracking usage and other factors that will help us determine whether this pilot program is successful."

Grinnell College welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Make/Shift activities open to the public all happen on the first floor of the Masonic Temple Building. Visitors are encouraged to use downtown street parking. Accommodation requests may be made to Grinnell College Conference Operations and Events.

Striking a Balance

In their first year at Grinnell, twins Vrishali Sinha ’19 and Vidushi Sihna ’19 led women’s golf to its third consecutive conference title. For added emphasis, they finished one-two individually at the Midwest Conference tournament in October.

The Sinhas’ games were “on” from the start of the season. In their very first competitive rounds for Grinnell, Vrishali and Vidushi shot the second and third best scores in program history at 74 and 76, respectively. Grinnell team scoring records fell three times in the first three tournaments.

The twins’ first-year success was not entirely unexpected. Both Sinhas have practically lived on the links since they were 10. As teens they were among the best women players in the Indian Golf Union, the governing body for amateur golf in all of India.

Vrishali and Vidushi had always planned to attend college together, but some were surprised that they would opt for Division III golf at Grinnell. The choice initially stunned their lifelong golf coach in India.

“Our coach wanted us to go Division I,” Vrishali says.

“When he found out Grinnell was Division III, he was like, ‘Why?’” Vidushi says.

Wanted a Balance

The Sinhas’ father fielded the incoming appeals from Division I programs, but Vrishali says, “I have a lot of friends who went to Division I and they did not have a really good experience. We were always certain that we wanted to go Division III so we didn’t even consider the Division I and II offers.”

“We are really uncertain whether we want to turn professional or not,” Vidushi adds. “You sacrifice your academics if you go Division I.” 

So, does that mean academics were always their first consideration in choosing a college?

“I wouldn’t say first,” they say in unison, laughing at the common occurrence in their conversation.

“… but we wanted a balance,” Vidushi finishes.

Coaches Influential

One of the Sinha sisters sets up a shot while the other watchesGrinnell golf coaches David Arseneault and Jennie Jackson can attest to the importance of tools like Skype and FaceTime in communicating with student-athletes, especially when prospective students live more than 8,000 miles away.

“We were in contact with a few coaches, and out of all of them we liked Coach A. and Jenny the most,” Vrishali says. “I think that influenced our decision to come to Grinnell a lot.”

The Sinhas also talked with teammate-to-be Lauren Yi ’18 to find out about life at Grinnell from a student perspective, Vidushi says.

“For me, golf and academics are at par, but at a Division I, academics become secondary,” Vrishali says. “People who I know (in Division I) have to choose an easier major so that they can balance out the study and travel.”

“Also, there is just the one tutorial requirement here,” Vidushi says. “I want to do a double major, and I think it’s much better that way.”

Liberal Arts Options

The Sinhas are a year away from declaring majors, and when asked what they might presently choose, they answer together: “Econ.”  

“I want to double major in studio art and econ,” Vidushi says. “There are a lot of artists in our family. My mom’s an artist, my brother paints, I paint.”

“Oh, no,” Vrishali says about the possibility of two majors. “I’m fine with one.”

Both sisters say they’ll probably return to India after college, but for now they are comfortable keeping long-term plans open-ended.

“That is also why we came to a liberal arts college,” Vrishali says, “because you have so many options here. I’m taking an intro to psych course and that’s pretty interesting, so I might do something related to psychology, or stick with econ, I’m not sure.”

Responding to Change

The Sinhas seem relatively undaunted by all they’ve experienced in a few short months, including the differences in American golf courses, the stateside approach to team play, and an academic system that requires a new way of doing things.

“Academics here are tough, definitely,” Vidushi says. “The education system in India is a lot different from what it is here. Out there we just have …”

 “One exam…” Vrishali says.

“…twice a year,” Vidushi finishes.

“You have to do well on your exams because that is 100% of your grade,” Vrishali explains.

Dad Likes Decision

The biggest adjustment of all, however, was coming to a place the size of Grinnell from one of the largest population centers in the world.

“Delhi is huge,” Vrishali says. “It’s a lot colder in the interaction between people, which is more formal, like, just when it’s required or necessary. Out here the people are a lot more friendly.”

While their coach back home now has come around to approving of the twins’ decision to come to Grinnell, their father was never in doubt.

“Oh, he’s happy,” Vidushi says.

“My dad is so happy,” Vrishali says.

Vrishali Sinha ’19 and Vidushi Sinha ’19 attended The Shri Ram School in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. 

 

History in the Making

During Grinnell’s week-long fall break, 11 students in the Opera, Politics, and Society in Modern Europe course went to San Francisco with Kelly Maynard, assistant professor of history, to get an up-close look at how politics and culture influence the development of modern opera. Thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of trustee Craig Henderson ’63, who opened his home and opera connections to the class, students spoke with opera singers, saw orchestral rehearsals, met with opera critics, and got exclusive backstage glimpses into set design and media suites.

“It really helped me put everything that we learned in class into perspective,” says Austin Schilling ’17. “You can read about how people used to make sets or how people designed opera houses 200 years ago, but you can’t get a real feel for it without seeing how everything operates with your own eyes.”

Students saw two live opera productions, The Magic Flute and Lucia di Lammermoor, at the San Francisco Conservatory and the San Francisco Opera House. Some were surprised at how different it was from watching operas on-screen. “Seeing an opera live in front of you and getting to analyze it on the spot with your classmates gives you a completely new perspective,” says Sam Hengst ’18.

What students didn’t expect was the opportunity to meet with the director of the San Francisco Opera, David Gockley, who made time to meet with them during one of their tours. With half a semester of in-class study and a rigorous week of immersion in the world of opera under their belts, students were prepared to ask Gockley questions that helped them to discover the modern parallels to what they learned in class.

Students taking a close look at a wig in a room full of other wigs“We got to see firsthand that the history we’re studying in class is alive and functioning today and is still as rich and complex as it was 200 years ago,” says Elizabeth Allen ’16.

“I think my biggest take-away from this experience is that you need to look at things from many different angles,” says Hengst. “When we do readings, we’re so used to just thinking about things in one way, but on this trip we saw that the world of opera is complex, from the actors and singers to set design and the use of technology. It’s a network, and we couldn’t have gotten such a great understanding of that from just reading about it.”

Through learning about the many complicated components that go into an opera production, these students discovered aspects of opera that they had never expected to be interested in. Allen even discovered an area that may turn into a topic of future research — the way globalization and art collide in modern opera.

“Thinking about The Magic Flute, which is an 18th-century Viennese opera, translated into English in the 21st century by David Gockley, using set design that includes the aesthetics of contemporary Japanese ceramics … it’s something global and contemporary, but still rooted in the past,” Allen says. “Seeing that was a really pivotal experience for me, and I realized that that’s the way I want to look at things in the future.”

For Allen and the other students in the class, learning about the many factors that contribute to opera opened their eyes to viewing things differently and looking beneath the surface of a finished product, a skill that will benefit them no matter what field they go into.

Austin Schilling '17 is a mathematics and German double major from Evanston, Ill.

Sam Hengst '18 is a German major from Madison, Wis.

Elizabeth Allen '16 is from Santa Fe, N.M., and is an art history major.

Double the Fun

At Grinnell, students are encouraged to find ways to pursue as many of their interests as they can. This can mean participating in clubs and athletics in addition to academics, but some students want to take their interests even further by declaring a double major.

A double major may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually very common for students to merge two seemingly unrelated interests into a major that fits their aspirations.

Becoming a better doctor

Micah Iticovici ’16 working at a table with books, papersMicah Iticovici ’16, a biological chemistry/economics double major, arrived on campus intending to be a philosophy major. However, he soon discovered an interest in biochemistry and the medical profession.

Then, during his Introduction to Economics course, he began to see an overlap between how economists study decision-making and how medical professionals and their patients interact.

“Patients are really not great decision-makers,” Iticovici says. “They make a lot of really small decisions without looking at the overall impacts of those choices.”

Using the principles he learned in economics, Iticovici has pursued independent research to try to gain a better understanding of how and why patients make decisions that aren’t in their best interests. By delving into behavioral economics with a medical spin, he hopes to be able to advise and relate to his future patients more effectively.

Combining economics with a medicine-oriented biochemistry major may be unexpected, but it has many practical applications. But a down-to-earth major like economics can add a lot to a major that is less logic-oriented as well.

The economics of art

Alex Neckopulos ’17 is a studio art/economics double major who was interested in art from a young age. Her talent was encouraged until high school, where she got very different feedback from her teachers. They viewed artistic pursuits as less valuable than math and sciences, and her interest in art faded.

Neckopulos regained her passion for art when she came to Grinnell, but she discovered that the analytical side she developed in high school was still calling. At first, the notion of combining her interests in art and economics seemed unrealistic. “Honestly I had no idea how they would work together! It felt like I was trying to stick a circle in a square hole,” Neckopulos says.

After taking a job as an assistant in the Faulconer Gallery, however, Neckopulos discovered that her knowledge of economic models and principles came in handy. “Working in a gallery, you have the art that you’re passionate about, but it’s also a business, and you have to know how to get people in the door and really manage your funds,” Neckopulos says.

She hopes to obtain an internship at a larger, public gallery in the future to see what it’s like to pursue those interests on a grander scale. “My advice to anyone who has multiple interests would be to seek out that job that you think might combine them, because there’s nothing more eye-opening than applying what you learn to real life,” says Neckopulos.

Look for the overlap

“Double majors are really doable,” Iticovici adds. “You can combine anything and there will be some kind of overlap, as long as you’re willing to look for it. And that makes everything you learn more fulfilling and interesting.”

For Grinnell students, the ability to delve deeply into more than one subject helps to transform their varied interests into new, more fulfilling career paths. So if you’re having trouble deciding what you want to do, fear not! You just might be able to do it all.

Do The Right Thing: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

The Cultural Films Committee is sponsoring a free, public screening of Spike Lee's  "Do the RIght Thing" at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26, at The Strand Theatre, 921 Main St. Grinnell, Iowa.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with:

In a 1989 New York Times movie review, critic Roger Ebert said, ”Anyone who walks into this film expecting answers is a dreamer or a fool. But anyone who leaves the movie with more intolerance than they walked in with wasn't paying attention.”

“Do the Right Thing doesn't ask its audiences to choose sides;" he added, “it is scrupulously fair to both sides, in a story where it is our society itself that is not fair.”

Read more of Ebert's review and join us for the screening.

Sameness and Difference

Paul Vanouse at microscope

 As 21st century racism unfolds and recedes under scientific scrutiny of human sameness and differences, the American studies concentration in collaboration with the art & art history and biology departments, have invited Bio-Artist Prof Paul Vanouse. 
 
 Over the last decade, Vanouse's work has been specifically concerned with forcing the arcane codes of scientific  communication into a broader cultural language. 
 
 In "The Relative Velocity Inscription Device" (2002), he literally races DNA from his Jamaican-American family members, in a DNA sequencing gel, an installation/scientific experiment that explores the relationship between early 20th Century Eugenics and late 20th Century Human Genomics. The double entendre of race highlights the obsession with “genetic fitness” within these historical endeavors. Similarly, his recent projects, “Latent Figure Protocol”, “Ocular Revision” and “Suspect Inversion Center” use molecular biology techniques to challenge “genome-hype” and to confront issues surrounding DNA fingerprinting.  
 
Vanouse will present "Sameness and Difference," at 4 p.m. Thursday, September 17, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. The talk is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available.
 

 

Alumni Begin Year of Service

This August, a dozen Grinnell alumni began a year of service through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC), a national service-leadership program that unites people to work for peace with justice. The program is popular among Grinnellians, and Grinnellians are popular with the organization, as well. Holding more than 10% of the 104 positions, the Grinnellians represent the largest group of alumni from any college or university in this year’s cohort of volunteers.

After the week of intensive training and orientation on topics including anti-racism work, self-care and intercultural communication, the volunteers dispersed to 13 U.S. cities, each person committed to serve full-time for one year with a particular social justice organization, while practicing simple, sustainable living in household communities of four to seven people.

The Grinnell alumni are serving in a variety of positions — including case managers, program assistants, and academic associates — and in everything from marketing and communications to farm and gardens to academics. They will serve in six cities this year:

Chicago, Ill.
Hannah Bernard ’15, Chicago Community Loan Fund
Elaine Fang ’15, Lakeview Pantry
Eleni Irrera ’14, Free Spirit Media
Katherine Quinn ’15, Lincoln Park Community Shelter
Milwaukee, Wis.
Ankita Sarawagi ’15, Bread of Healing Clinic
Seattle, Wash.
Rebecca Carpenter ’15, Jewish Family Service
Tacoma, Wash.
Fatima Cervantes ’15, L’Arche Tahoma Hope
Brittany Hubler ’15, L’Arche Tahoma Hope
Twin Cities, Minn.
Jordan Schellinger ’15, Twin Cities’ Habitat for Humanity
Alex Sharfman ’15, Our Saviour's Community Services
Washington, D.C.
Georgina Haro ’15, La Clinica del Pueblo
Alexa Stevens ’15, Thurgood Marshall Academy

The LVC says they are “proud of the continued partnership with Grinnell College and congratulates these 12 Grinnellians as they begin their year of service!”

LVC, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is open to persons from all spiritual traditions and welcomes people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered in all aspects of the organization. It supports volunteers as they explore the spiritual aspects of justice, community, and sustainability.

The Grinnell alumni earned degrees in a wide variety of areas: anthropology, art, biological chemistry, economics, French, psychology, philosophy, political science, Russian, sociology, and Spanish.