My Internship: Curating an Exhibit at the OU Museum of Art

Chris (center) pictured with other Oglethorpe arts students during a short-term trip to New York City, led by Professor Alan Loehle (in background).

I’m a senior at Oglethorpe, with a double major in history and art history. During the spring 2013 semester, I interned at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA) and had the opportunity to curate an exhibit that had a very special purpose.

You might not know that Oglethorpe’s art museum has a large permanent collection of precious and rare works of art that has been acquired over the years (and continues to grow). Not many universities can claim to have original works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Joan Miro or Salvador Dali. OUMA has also exhibited original artwork in exclusive exhibitions that are not shown anywhere else. Elizabeth Peterson, who became the museum’s director last summer, believes that the museum is a valuable and essential institution from which students of Oglethorpe should be able to benefit and learn. I’m one example of that.

Chris pictured with library staff member Toni Zimmerman during an exhibit opening reception for the OU community.

The exhibit that I had the chance to curate was dedicated to pieces of art from OUMA’s permanent collection that tied in neatly with two art classes offered this semester, printmaking and figure drawing. I included OUMA’s early sketches of figures from the estate of Delacroix that showed an artist’s analysis of human facial expressions. A beautiful chalk drawing of a nude by Renoir showed the rich color and detail a drawing can demonstrate. Sketches and prints of Parisian streets by Pierre Bonnard displayed how artists can find inspiration around them.

At Oglethorpe, you can study and have firsthand access to genuine artwork that could potentially serve as sources of inspiration for your own art or as a topic for a research paper. The museum also is the setting for concerts and educational lectures—and potential internships. The advantages that Oglethorpe’s museum provides both students and faculty are endless. I know I received an opportunity that I can’t imagine having anywhere else.

Read more about the Oglethorpe Art Department’s short-term trip to New York City to study art in February 2013 (pictured at top).

OUMA Presents “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War”

Jenny Liu, age 20, Chinese, 2009, Young American Series

Sheila Pree Bright, chromogenic print from digital file, created using a Hasselblad H3D camera, 65" X 48" . Courtesy of the artist.

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art has opened the doors for its newest exhibition, “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War,” which explores the juxtaposition of the American and Vietnamese experience of the Vietnam War and its aftermath. The exhibit will run through December 9. 

Artists Dinh Q. Lê, Sheila Pree Bright, Keisha Luce and Kirk Torregrossa are featured, as well as Northern Vietnamese propaganda posters from The Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection. The  exhibition was inspired by the campus-wide reading of Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried, a fictionalized account of the author’s time as an American soldier in Vietnam.   

“The cultural, physical, and emotional dissonance explored by these artists raise many questions regarding the burden of war,” said Elizabeth Peterson, curator and director of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, “It’s a legacy that crosses borders and is carried through generations.”  Peterson joined the museum in August 2012.  

Bright’s Young American series features photographs of young adults in various poses with the American flag. Bright wants the body language of the models and the different positions of the flag to raise questions about what it means to be an American in Generation Y. Each photo is named after the person photographed and is accompanied by a personal statement which reflects the person’s ideas about being American.

Lê’s large-scale photographic collages contrast photos of the Vietnam war with iconic Hollywood imagery to contrast the realities of war with the Western perspective of it. Lê was born in Ha-Tien, Vietnam, emigrated to Los Angeles at age 10, and now splits his time between America and Vietnam. His collages are made up of photos woven together using traditional Vietnamese techniques and are inspired by his own memories of the war, both real from his childhood in Vietnam and imagined, inspired by American war movies.

Untitled from Vietnam to Hollywood (floating figure), 2004

Dinh Q. Lê, c-print and linen tape, 38” x 72”, Courtesy of the artist and PPOW Gallery, New York NY

Luce’s sculpture series Sum & Parts depict the malformed bodies of Vietnamese people living with the effects of long-term exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide used in the Vietnam War. In an interview with Vermont Public Radio, she says, “they are difficult bodies to look at. Part of what I was trying to do is to bring this type of body—the war body—into the public sphere.”

Thanh, Luu. d., Anh/Mai Mai/Thanh, Luu. d., Anh/Mai Mai/La Ngu Oi/men yeu nhat ("Brother, you are forever most loved"), Unknown

tempera on paper, 24 ¾” x 17 ½”, Courtesy of The Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection

Torregrossa’s photographs help to achieve this goal by allowing viewers to see both the sculptures and the people that inspired them. They document every step of the two month long Sum & Parts journey, and Torregrossa says of his series, “my intent is to craft a story that illustrates not only the horrible long-term effects of chemical warfare, but with resiliency and bravery, how the people involved soldier on.”

During the exhibit’s run, OUMA will also offer lectures on Wednesday evenings. Visit the OUMA website for more information. OUMA is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12 noon – 5 p.m. General admission is $5.00, free for OUMA members and OU students with a Petrel Pass. Students, check it out and earn a Petrel Point!

“Mandalas by the Patients of Carl Jung” Exhibit at Oglethorpe University Museum

A new exhibit opens at the OU Museum of Art on February 5, 2012. “The Secret Round: Mandalas by the Patients of Carl Jung” features 40 original mandalas created by the famous Swiss psychoanalyst’s patients during their treatment between 1926 and 1945. This first ever exhibit is courtesy of the C. G. Jung Institute in Switzerland.  

Mandalas were used during therapy to help patients express both the conscious and unconscious. Included in the exhibit is a handmade book containing one patient’s dream descriptions and drawings, hailed as the feminine version of Jung’s famous The Red Book.

The exhibit is accompanied by a series of guest lectures, presented in partnership with the C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta, and featuring top Jungian analysts. Each lecture will unveil a different aspect of the mystery that is the mandala.

Curator Vicente de Moura, archivist at the C.G. Jung Institute.

The Public Opening will take place on Sunday, February 5, 12 noon – 5 p.m.  A special lecture by exhibit curator Vicente de Moura, C.G. Jung Institute archivist and Jungian analyst, will start at 3:00 p.m.  As always, OU students, staff and faculty have the amazing opportunity to visit the exhibit for free with a Petrel Pass. The exhibit will run through May 6, 2012.

Join us and immerse yourself in the inner world of mandalas!

Commemorating the Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Sina Nitzsche, Visiting Assistant Professor of German

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was an event of epochal significance. It not only changed the existing world order, it also had a deep impact on the people who lived in East Germany. Tonight, Oglethorpe students and others will have the opportunity to hear an eye-witness account of the events that changed Germany, Europe, and the world.

Sina Nitzsche, visiting assistant professor of German, and Tamás Novák, who were both children in the GDR and adolescents in the unified Germany, will share their personal experiences about the cultural aftermath of 1989.

“It is important to understand the significance of what happened and make the connection between history books and today,” said Nitzsche. “We would like to share our personal experiences, engage in dialogue—and also enjoy a fine selection of German food.”

The evening starts off with a selection of German food at 6:00 p.m., followed by a viewing of the award-winning film Goodbye, Lenin! (2003), and a Q&A discussion with Nitzsche and Novak. The event will take place tonight, November 9, in the Skylight Gallery of the OU Museum of Art in the Philip Weltner Library. All are welcome to attend this special event.

Harp Soloist Alice Giles in Concert at Oglethorpe


Alice Giles, one of the world’s leading harp soloists, will perform at Oglethorpe University Museum of Art this Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m. The performance is part of OUMA’s Skylight Gallery Concert Series and is the perfect choice for a relaxing Saturday date night!  Concert admission is $10 or FREE with a Petrel Pass. 

The Australian-born musician first attracted international attention when she won First Prize in the 8th Israel International Harp Contest at the age of 21. Since then she has performed extensively with orchestras in Europe, America, Australia, and Israel. She presented her first solo recital at age 13 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, was awarded the coveted Churchill International Fellowship and an Australia Council Grant to study in the U.S., and made her New York debut recital at Merkin Hall in 1983. From 1990 to 1998 she taught at the Hochschüle für Musik in Frankfurt, and was recently appointed to the School of Music, ANU in Australia.

The concert is presented in conjunction with OUMA’s current exhibition, Chagall: The Early Etchings of the 1920s, which runs through December 11. OUMA is open Tuesday- Sunday, 12 noon – 5 p.m. Find out more information about Skylight Gallery Concert Series and other OUMA events here.