Paintings, video games and terraria are all currently on display as a part of the Anti-Grand exhibition at the Harnett Museum in the Modlin Center for the Arts.
The Anti-Grand exhibition is a part of the year-long Tucker-Boatwright Festival of Literature and the Arts, and has a particular focus on landscape art, but not necessarily in a traditional way. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions, said the essence was captured in the name. The exhibition is about disassociation from the grand, sweeping panorama landscapes of the 19th century, and this is shown in the art chosen, Schlatter said.
The aforementioned terraria pop up in a couple of places in the exhibition and are lifted up with a hole cut in the middle so viewers can stick their head in and immerse themselves in the small environment. The paintings cover a variety of scenes, and each is completely different from the last.
Adding to the non-traditional element of the exhibition is a canyon sculpted from encyclopedias. Several video games also allow the player to explore landscapes in a different media. “Hopefully, if somebody turns a corner, they see something they weren't expecting,” Schlatter said.
Senior Kenta Murakami has played an important role in bringing the exhibition together since he began working with Schlatter after his sophomore year. Murakami pointed to the perception of landscape art as a key factor in the exhibition.
“A lot of people have said that the landscape genre kind of stopped as an art-form within high art a long time ago," Murakami said. "We’re interested in the resurgence of interest, particularly understanding how to make landscapes when that sense of romantic landscape can’t really be done without a sense of irony or a sense o knowingness, what humans placed in the landscape and interfered with it."
Another key to the exhibition was organizing it around a theme that is accessible and recognizable, but can be explored in a variety of ways, Schlatter said. The environmental aspect is always relevant, and landscape perceptions can change.
“The exhibition is really looking at how we are looking at landscape now. … We’re looking at the way landscape intertwines with ideology,” Murakami said.
Bringing together an exhibition like this is a complicated project management challenge, and even after developing a theme, the logistical challenges of creating agreements with artists and transporting the art are significant, Schlatter said.
One of the overall goals of the Tucker-Boatwright Festival this year is to “engage the campus as local community in examining how landscape and land use have been defined historically and how we respond to the opportunities, challenges, and tensions inherent in the topics today.” The Anti-Grand exhibition does this in a unique and interesting way.
The Harnett Museum has been located in the Modlin Center since 1996, and has a variety of exhibitions every year featuring contemporary art, historical art, photography, student exhibits and more. A mix of both students and community members come to the Harnett Museum, Schlatter said, and admission is free to all.
“People come for all different reasons, some to get their mind off of things, or to think about things in a new way. Others just want the opportunity to see real art in person without leaving campus,” Schlatter said. There’s no set amount of time it takes to enjoy the Harnett Museum either, whether you have an hour or five minutes, it’s worth stopping in and looking around, she said.
The Harnett Museum is located on the first floor of the Modlin Center, and is open Sunday through Friday from 1-5 p.m. The Anti-Grand exhibition will be on display until March 6.