Art makes you smart


“The college museum experience is absolutely seminal,” the Smart Museum’s departing Dana Feitler Director, Kimberly Rorschach, told a jam-packed lecture hall Wednesday. Addressing “Why Do Universities Have Museums?” Rorschach explored the history and purpose of university art museums, choosing, she said, to focus on “why we collect rather than what we collect.” University museums’ “unique resources,” she said—like having access to world-renowned intellectuals—allow them to meet their “distinctive mission” of providing thought-provoking art and interdisciplinary educational programs.

Indeed, the Smart’s summer exhibition, Smart Collecting: A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration, demonstrates the collection’s variety, ranging from modern American to 18th-century Asian works. The exhibition “highlights outstanding additions to the Smart’s collection,” says a brochure, including sculpture, photography, painting, and drawing.

In August Rorschach will leave her ten-year position to become the first director of Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. Under interim director Jacqueline Terrassa, MFA’94, and beyond, Rorschach says, she is confident that the Smart will continue to help lead Chicago arts scene by showing “intellectually risk-taking exhibitions.”

Smart Collecting: A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration will be on display through September 5.

Leila S. Sales, ’06

July 9, 2004