Luncheons, Exhibitions, and Reflections

As third week began, we turned our attention from the Baroque objects we’ve been getting to know intimately over the last couple weeks to the contemporary pieces featured in the Strange Beauty exhibition.  Researching current artists is surprisingly more difficult than those of the 17th century, as there is simply not the same vast quantity of scholarship and academic study on contemporary art.  Our time is also rather limited, so we embarked on a kind of researching frenzy, reading biographies, artist statements, reviews of exhibitions, essentially anything and everything we could find.  Once we had learned enough to be familiar with our respective pieces and artists, we gathered for lunch at Wooglin’s, a delicious café frequented by CC students, to discuss some of the questions central to creating an exhibition: Who is our ideal audience? What is the goal for the exhibition? What kind of experience are we looking to create? What kind of wall text or labels will we have? Etc.  Many students, myself included, voiced very strong opinions on these subjects, and numerous, rather heated debates ensued.  One area of particular controversy was whether we wanted to design a website for the exhibition, where the catalogue information would be accessible for review whenever visitors had the time to learn more.  This debate led to the central question of our technological age—how do people access information?  As we attempted to discover an answer, I kept thinking of the blog I am currently writing.

The way in which people give and receive information is clearly changing, yet I think there is an enduring tension between print and digital media. There are plenty of people who still feel strongly about the importance of print media, as in the case of newspapers, but many are on the other side of the fence, believing solely in the power of the Internet.  Like much of my generation, I feel caught between the two, and though I like the accessibility and universal scope of the Internet, I am still very attached to print.  I love holding a book in my hands, the feel of turning each page, and being able to pick up a New York Times on my way to class.  But at the same time I love the rapid pace and global reach of the Internet, its ability to bring like-minded people together, and create innovative ways of communication.  In writing this blog, sharing with perspective students and interested individuals the real experience of a course at CC, I am beginning to fully understand and appreciate the value of digital communication.