An introspective at perspective

The NDSU Memorial Union Gallery bends our views of art

The installation asked the viewer to imitate the form of the painting.

Even with the extremely well thought out and interactive curation of the gallery, you cannot overlook the names. Picasso, Warhol, Dali, names we all know.

The list doesn’t even stop there, the gallery hosts a Judy Chicago piece. She was a founder of feminist art. There was also a Jasper Johns piece, who is famous for helping create the op art movement. 

“Objective” is one big name drop, for sure, but if the public comes for the names they will find an adventure. The works are set up in a way that makes us question how we absorb art and how that art is presented.

Anthony Farris, the curator, told me the show is not really about the artwork at all, it’s about the ways we experience it.

“Are we affected by a price tag when we’re looking at artwork, are we affected by the labels, are we affected by the color behind an artwork?” Anthony said, gesturing around to examples.

Many of the pieces were posed with an activity or a certain curation to draw attention to what effects perception. The Andy Warhol was posed next to an envelope style sheet that if opened revealed the price tag, $1.5 million for a self-portrait. One installation invited the viewer to touch it while another was roped off with a security camera above it like the Mona Lisa. 

“We have seventeen different ways people can navigate art,” Faris said, “so they can come to the show and look at it through the lens of social justice, they can see writings about artwork and then they can draw the piece and then see how well the interpretation did.” 

Faris said he thinks one of the most important pieces to our society today is the Judy Chicago piece with its four multi-colored circles contained in glass. “Right next to it there is an iPad with the piece, because we are all looking at artwork right now through our phones,” Faris said, “but what does that actually do when you’re actually looking at the real piece and how does that change your perspective?”

Having your painting displayed in the same room as an Andy Warhol original might be one of those things that movies only portray in some large city where people are eating hors d’oeuvres and sipping champagne. Instead the crowd in the Union were sipping coffee in a city most have only heard of in passing.

Tyler Evin is one of the artists displayed alongside other local artists. “It’s kind of a neat feeling because this is a unique exposition, like Anthony said, where it’s less about the art itself and more about the experience.”

Evin’s piece was displayed like the rest with an experiment in perception. His painting was shown with the picture it was inspired by.

“Usually if you are going to a gallery, or what not, you’re looking at a painting, and all you’re seeing is the artist’s interpretation of what they are portraying.” Evin said. The audience, in this case, is able to judge his interpretation of the photo reference.

Evin was a student at North Dakota State for one year before finishing his education at Minnesota State: Moorhead. He now teaches art at Cheyenne High School in West Fargo.

“Objective” will remain in the Memorial Union Gallery until Sept 12 and is available for viewing from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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