Thrown into art

In the high-ceilinged, airy space at Gallery 312, early guests to the opening reception nosh on Asian appetizers, waiting for the artists and their families to show up. The Humanities Division convocation ceremony has just ended, and it takes some time to drive north in Friday-afternoon rush hour.

Two guests—cousins of Mary Burns, MFA’04—eye a series of cement and graphite sculptures, a piece by Stacy Karzen, MFA’04, called Lunch. A small group laughs before Jung Eun Lee’s (MFA’04) untitled mixed-media installation—when they enter the space behind the curtain, a camera unexpectedly takes their photograph, and now they’re giggling at the results: photo-booth–style strips of pictures. Around the corner visitors step onto faux-grass and read about Lynn Retson’s (MFA’04) “expeditions” to discover and recreate borrow pits, where dirt is dug to use as fill elsewhere. (A sign explains, “Exhibit temporarily on loan to the mobile site of the Midwest Museum of the Borrow Pit located in the U-Haul van near the front entrance loading dock.”) One guy stares at Paula Henderson’s (MFA’04) Chicago: the Remix, an acrylic and charcoal map of the city in which she reconfigured neighborhoods in alphabetical order, coming up with a surprisingly even distribution of race and class.

The exhibition, called Pitch and curated by the Smart Museum’s Uchenna Itam, features some 25 pieces by eight graduating visual-arts students, including photography, paint, video, installation, and sculpture. The title Pitch, Itam says, connotes the artists’sense of being “thrown out into the gallery world” and also plays nicely on Retson’s borrow pit project. Their work shown here through June 26, the graduates have a welcoming entrée into an artist’s life.


06-14-04_image-1_thumb.jpg 06-14-04_image-2_thumb.jpg 06-14-04_image-3_thumb.jpg

June 14, 2004