The Gund Gallery offers programs that foster the development of new pedagogies among faculty interested in teaching with artwork, and that provide opportunities for faculty to contribute to curricular-inspired projects. In recent years, the Faculty Seminar Series gave professors in different departments the chance to explore ways of teaching with art that would complement their individual methods and enrich course content. Each fall semester, from 2015-2018, the Gallery invited professors from a specific set of disciplines to take part in the seminar program, in which they learned from researchers, professors, and museum professionals about creative and innovative ways to use art and the art museum as a teaching resource. The Faculty Seminar Series increased and diversified approaches to curricular engagement with exhibitions and the collection, and sparked new ideas among participants about how they could help deepen the relationship between Kenyon’s curriculum and the Gallery’s exhibitions and programs. Responding to the broadening interest among faculty to participate in conceptualization and planning processes, the Gund Gallery transformed the dialogue-based structure of the Faculty Seminar Series into a new collaborative curatorial model.
In the fall of 2019, the Gund Gallery convened an interdisciplinary committee of faculty, staff, and Gund Associates for the planning of a spring 2021 exhibition of contemporary art on the topic of trees. The Art of Trees committee’s ongoing dialogue explores trees as the real and metaphorical touchstone for conceiving a new social imaginary, through which we can reinvent our relationship with the natural world for social and ecological betterment. An important foundation for the committee’s research is a series of six public speaking events, hosted by the Gallery and featuring artists, scientists, and activists driving the latest research, literature, and discourse on contemporary art and environmental politics. This program serves campus and community audiences and provides faculty, staff, Gund Associates, and other Kenyon students with the opportunity to learn from leading voices in the field. The research and planning committee aims to foster scholarly research, interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaboration, extra-curricular student mentoring, and robust and creative curricular use of Gallery exhibitions, collections works, resources, and programs. Exemplifying collaboration among different stakeholders, the Art of Trees program incorporates curricular engagement, Gund Associate-curated exhibitions, visiting artist programs, and community outreach into an expansive, generative, interdisciplinary, and visionary network of campus community members.
Because of its open, malleable structure, the collaborative curatorial model will continue to evolve to support faculty, staff, and student contributions to Gund Gallery exhibitions and programming.
The contemporary art museum is a unique institution that frames the intersection of artistic production, collecting practices, exhibition programs, global markets, and public life. A museum’s collection and curatorial approaches offer insight into the power dynamics at play in the museum apparatus, the interests of public and private funding sources, and the economic structures of the art world on global, regional, and local scales. Meanwhile, the study of educational initiatives and audience reception can tell us how the museum engages with the public to critically explore issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and nation, and whether or not it is successful in building community and political consciousness.
Using the Gund Gallery, its collection, and its exhibitions as material for different case studies, faculty will explore a variety of issues about the politics and economics of contemporary art museums and, based on this study, will develop new class sessions and/or assignments in partnership with the Gallery that enrich and expand existing course curricula.
Metaphoric thinking is often considered a tool of artistic creativity because it reflects the work of the imagination, yet it requires the mind to perform a complex integration of different concepts, essential to all intellectual processes. The premise for this seminar is the idea that by using art to mediate students’ exploration of scientific concepts, we exercise the imagination and creativity to inspire new ideas and modes of inquiry that expand the formal structures used to communicate math and science principles. One goal of this seminar is to create an opportunity for faculty in mathematics and the sciences to explore ways of using contemporary art exhibited at the Gund Gallery, or 20th and 21st-century art in the Gund Gallery Collection, to enhance metaphoric thinking in their courses to improve students’ critical thinking and their ability to produce new forms of knowledge.
This fall the Gund Gallery Faculty Seminar welcomes interested faculty from the Department of Modern Languages and Literature to explore various methods and benefits of using contemporary art exhibited at the Gund Gallery, or 20th and 21st-century art in the Gund Gallery Collection, to teach language at introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. Pedagogical methods explored show how using art to teach can help students develop vocabulary, grammar and syntax, stimulate student participation in discussions, and provide opportunities for higher levels of creative thinking by enabling more sophisticated application of language skills to intellectual discussions.
Over casual dinner discussions based on short articles and essays, topics presented by guest experts, and experiences gained from focused visits to other art museums, seminar participants had the opportunity to consider contemporary curatorial practices and academic museum issues, including but not limited to: the history of the modern museum, visitor motivations and expectations, learning and engagement through objects and exhibitions, contemporary curatorial practices and trends, intersection of museum and higher education history, Visual Thinking Strategies and interpretation, contemporary art in encyclopedic museums, visual literacy, collecting and collections management, the public trust and collections ethics, curating from collections, collaboration and interdisciplinarity, creativity and innovation, and other topics.
For more information, please contact:
Jodi Kovach, Ph.D.
Curator of Academic Programs
Gund Gallery at Kenyon College