African Art: Research and Design Laboratory

January 22 - March 2, 2019

Art History students participating in ARTH 495/599 Objects and Archives in Art History: Curating an Exhibition instructed by Dr. LaNitra Berger will be using the Fine Arts Gallery as a laboratory in which to explore the essentials of researching and curating an exhibition of African artifacts and artworks from the Mason permanent collection. The class will be working in the gallery on Fridays primarily and once the workshop and show materials begin to come together the gallery will be open for limited hours (to be determined) throughout the week.

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ARTH 495/599 Objects and Archives in Art History: Curating an Exhibition

Course description:

In this class students will participate in every aspect of curating an actual exhibition. We will focus on the specific opportunities and challenges of exhibiting African art. Using original objects from the George Mason University Art Collection and other private collections, students will choose an exhibition theme, write a proposal, create a checklist and select objects, propose and seek sources of funding, design the exhibition layout, conduct archival research, write wall text, design and write a short exhibition catalogue, create marketing materials, plan educational programs, help install and de-install the show, and give gallery tours. The show will take place on George Mason University’s Campus in the Fine Arts Gallery. This course will differ from the typical seminar in that it will explore the practical side of curatorial work in addition to scholarly research.

Course Objectives:

* To plan and organize an exhibition of visual art from start to finish

* To assume the role of curator and experience the many aspects of the job

* To perform specialized research on objects in the exhibition and to convey the results of your research to the class

Student Learning Outcomes

* To develop strong art historical research and critical thinking skills

* To develop an area of expertise within the curatorial/museum field (i.e., exhibition design, education programming)

* To cultivate strong public speaking skills and become an advocate for the public value of museums

* To learn how to work productively and effectively in a team-oriented environment