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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Fine Arts

Scholars guide gallery patrons


The Blaffer Art Museum hosts a monthly Brown Bag Gallery Talk to spark a discussion for on-going exhibitions; new concepts were introduced to Anton Ginzburg’s “Terra Corpus.” | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

Experienced art historians and scholars helped art enthusiasts make sense of the sculptures, paintings and photographs in each exhibition Tuesday at the Blaffer Art Museum.

Every month, Brown Bag Gallery Talks are held at Blaffer for open discussions and tours to accompany ongoing galleries. This month’s talk centered around the work “Terra Corpus” by Anton Ginzburg.

Ginzburg’s work features two videos, sculptures and photos that seem to invoke separate stories but are actually interconnected.

John Harvey, the director of the Center for Creative Work and assistant professor at The Honors College, dove into the artwork and made it relatable to audience members.

“The artist wants to wake you up,” Harvey said.


The photographs and additional artwork in the exhibition not only described Ginzburg’s connection with Earth but also emphasized the increasing human disconnect from nature. | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

Another concept that Harvey discussed was awareness of the surroundings and vast spaces people live in.

“The first time I came to the exhibit, it seemed like everything was its own object, but the way (Harvey) was talking about it all makes sense — how each piece is a part of this different world that is also a part of our world,” said UScholars freshman Alondra Serrano.

During the talk, Harvey encouraged the audience members to provide their input.

One member thought the artist was trying to say that humans have lost connection to the Earth. This topic of disconnect with nature is explored in Ginzburg’s film “Walking the Sea.”

In the film, he walks in the shrinking Aral Sea, which was plentiful and vast but began to be irrigated by the Soviet Union government in the 1980s for cotton plantations.

“We can cause a sea to disappear, but you can still spend time with it and connect,” Harvey said.

Another part of the exhibit is a scarf woven from cotton that was grown through the irrigation of the Aral Sea.

“I honestly didn’t know much about (the Aral Sea) before, but I like his idea of how civilization kind of destroyed the sea, but the sea is still there, and then adding the myth that the sea is still underneath,” Serrano said. “Also, I like that the scarf is made out of the same kind of cotton that was used to destroy the sea.”

For students, the gallery talks not only help them understand art but also give them tools for problem-solving in general.

“I liked the idea of playing and figuring out things more than just looking at them and saying what they are,” said dance sophomore Kryztal Vazquez.

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