Museum Professions Students at Aerosol Exhibit.
M.A. in Museum Professions graduate students were granted access to a member's only opening of "Aerosol: Graffiti Street Art" at the Morris Museum in New Jersey on Thursday, October 3. Students were also welcomed to attend an earlier ceremony inaugurating the Morris Museum as the first and only New Jersey Smithsonian Affiliate, with guest speakers US Representative Mikie Sherrill, Secretary of State Tahesha Way, and Smithsonian Ambassador Dr. Richard Kurin. Students put theory to practice studying the curatorial techniques of Will Kasso Condry and Ronald Lebaco, analyzing artistic style and design practices.
Professor Gregory Stevens organized for students in his Museum Professions graduate classes to attend the opening of "Aerosol" to witness a unique and original exhibit never tried before. "Aerosol" challenges preconceived notions of what classifies as art and questions societal standards that define what belongs in a museum or gallery. Graffiti and street artists, during a weeklong installation, were invited to paint their pieces directly onto walls in the museum's South Gallery the same way they would on the outside of a building. Pieces include wall length murals, letter art, and painted characters, with references to graffiti culture, racism, and inequality.
In order to reach the exhibition, visitors must travel through several traditional gallery spaces, with framed works of art displayed after careful planning and installation. Visitors then enter "Aerosol," a gallery with floor to ceiling spray painted walls with vibrant colors and intricate designs. This show features the artists 4sakn, Acet TM7, Dave Mek One Klama, Dean Ras Innocenzi, Demerock, Distort, Elan, Felipe Prox One Rivas, Jonathan Conner (LANK), Leon Rainbow, Maliq Griffin, and Will Kasso Condry. All artists provide a specific representation of traditional graffiti, street art, or a combination of both, traditions that are wildly different from the white-walled gallery displays in adjacent rooms.
Artist Elan highlights this dichotomy in his piece, which is strategically featured in the center of the exhibit. He created this work specifically for the gallery to represent his feelings toward the show. Using illustrations of the typical locations of graffiti art as his background, Elan portrays a depiction of a boy holding a can of spray paint creating graffiti letter art. In the center of a piece hangs an ornate gold framed oil painting featuring the words "Out of Place." In an artist panel hosted during the opening, Elan explained that this piece signifies how graffiti fits into the museum setting, where works of respected fine art are displayed. The graffiti/street art artform commonly seen as vandalism is "out of place" in a museum, he says, but this exhibit is hoping to change that sentiment.
M.A. in Museum Professions students participated in several discussions during the exhibition opening. Students considered the overall layout and design of the program, analyzing piece placement and meaning. Professor Stevens introduced students to Morris Museum Director, Dr. Cleveland Johnson, who shared with participants the museum's new mission and how this exhibition furthers their goals. Later, students met Ronald Lobaco, co-curator of this exhibition with Will Kasso Condry. Lobaco answered students' questions on the planning that went into this exhibit and how that varied from traditional art installations. This exhibition is unique and unordinary to museums, enabling students to learn from the show and imagine ways that they too can push the boundaries of tradition.
The M.A. in Museum Professions is designed for individuals interested in pursuing careers in museums or related cultural institutions. Students in the program select one of four professional tracks, including Education, Registration, Management and Exhibition Development.
The College of Communication and the Arts currently offers three graduate-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.
Categories: Arts and Culture