Student Seminar Work Highlighted with Voices of Contemporary Art

“How do you approach conserving art that you know is supposed to ‘die’?”

This question framed “When Art Dies,” an interview with Flavia Perugini, the Associate Conservator in the Objects Conversation Department at the Museum of Fine Arts. Honors student Tyler Wu (DMSB’20) had the opportunity to speak with Perugini and to publish “When Art Dies” through his enrollment in The Art of Visual Intelligence, an Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar taught by Dr. Gloria Sutton, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History (CAMD).

Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, Tyler and his classmates were invited to submit blog posts to the VoCA Blog, an offshoot of the Voices of Contemporary Art, a non-profit organization with a mission focused on the generation of “critical dialogue and interdisciplinary programming addressing the production, presentation, and preservation of contemporary art.” An open-access blog, the VoCA Blog takes submissions but is curated by its editorial board; acceptance for publication is not guaranteed. Yet, several students in Professor Sutton’s Honors seminar were successful in having their blogposts selected.

The experiential opportunity to contribute to the VoCA Blog complemented the goals of The Art of Visual Intelligence, which combines the powers of observation (formal description, visual data) with techniques of interpretation to sharpen perceptual awareness allowing students to develop compelling analysis of visual phenomena. Prof. Sutton noted that the students “published their critical takes on the exhibitions and contemporary art experts [they] met with all semester on the Voices of Contemporary Art blog.”

The opportunity to share their perspectives on contemporary art provided a wide variety of ideas from the students, ranging from the material and ephemeral nature of contemporary art to more abstract ideas of artistic vision and sociocultural engagement.  Student articles, published alongside critics, creators, and academics in the field of art and art history, included:

  • “When Art Dies,” by Tyler Wu (DMSB’20), who spoke to Flavia Perugini at the Museum of Fine Arts to discuss the conservation of art that is meant to disintegrate and that the artist does not mean for to survive.
  • “Longevity of Public Artwork: an Interview with Curator Yuri Stone,” by Bianca Rabbie (CAMD’20), who interviewed Yuri Stone, Assistant Curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, about the nature of public artworks and how to preserve them in public spaces.
  • “Social Responsibility of Museums in the 21st Century,” by Monica Leveckis (DMSB’19), who investigates the connection between museums and social consciousness as it relates to access, to philanthropy, and to inclusive and diverse exhibitions, using the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, Florida.
  • “Preserving Artist Intent Through Curation,” by Isabella Cura (DMSB’19), who speaks with Yuri Stone about the recent Kapwani Kiwanga exhibit, Safe Passage, at MIT.
  • “Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time,” by Joric Barber (CAMD’19), who analyzes William Forsythe’s recent exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 3, which blurs the line between viewer and participant in the artwork.
  • “The Impact of Virtual Reality in Socially-Focused Contemporary Art” by Laura Gomez (CAMD’20), who writes about the VR Cinema at the Phi Centre in Montreal, Canada, and its exhibition of films centered around Black and African-American History, specifically with the films Accused no. 2: Walter Sisulu and Traveling While Black.

To read through all current articles, visit the Art of Visual Intelligence on the VoCA Blog.

HONR 3310: The Art of Visual Intelligence with Professor Sutton will next be offered in Spring 2020.