Fall 2014-Spring 2015

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw

The 2014-15 iteration of the Spiegel-Wilks Seminar in Contemporary Art taught by History of Art Professor and Undergraduate Chair, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, and Liz Park, the Whitney Lauder Fellow at Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, began by focusing on the work of photographer and installation artist Carrie Mae Weems.  Using the Van Pelt Library archives of an exhibition of Weems’ work, which was organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts and traveled to the ICA in 1998, as a starting point, the students studied Weems’ artistic practice for several months before selecting a theme around which to build an exhibition for the ICA’s Project Space. The exhibition (April 22 to August 16, 2015) focused on ideas of race, place, and family in relation to narrative and story telling.  Its conception was catalyzed by a four-day class trip to New Orleans to experience Prospect 3, the city-wide contemporary art exhibition organized by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Curator Franklin Sirmans, which featured Weems’ work as a part of an expansive and ambitious program.  The student-curated exhibition included the work of several artists, including Heather Hart, who agreed to build a porch in the gallery upon which related programming and activities were staged.