Students rewardedfor ‘Seeking Rembrandt’



    Students who worked to create the “Seeking Rembrandt” exhibition discovered that producing a museum exhibition requires more than just hanging pictures on the wall.

    Students played a big part getting ready for the exhibition. They worked on research, wrote the catalog and labels and planned the exhibition design. The focus was to get the message of the exhibition across to the target audience, said Martha Peacock, faculty advisor for the project.

    This group of 14 graduate and undergraduate students have worked since the beginning of fall semester on the exhibition, said Jeni Lyn Smith, a graduate student who is involved in the exhibition. During Fall Semester, the group of student-curators worked to research specific Rembrandt prints, as well as prints done by his contemporaries, she said.

    “This project generated out of a graduate seminar,” Peacock said. “When we started working on this project, there were many exhibitions focusing on the results of the Rembrandt research project in the United States and Europe.”

    The Rembrandt research project originated in the 1960s when questions arose about the large number of pieces by Rembrandt displayed in Europe. A group of six Dutch men founded the research to determine which works of art were done by Rembrandt and which were counterfeit. Examining artistic style and other elements of art, this group of researchers determined that many pieces of art, originally thought to be Rembrandt’s, were done by other artists, said Peacock at the opening of the exhibition.

    This exhibition focuses on the findings of the Rembrandt research project. It also allows patrons to see original Rembrandt works of art alongside works done by his contemporaries Johannes Gillisz, Van Vliet and Jan Lievens.

    “These artists influenced each other to create collaborative moments of artistic genius,” Peacock said. “Together they created the style known as `Rembrandtesque.'”.

    “Students having the opportunity to work so closely with the development of an exhibition is a very uncommon experience,” Peacock said. “It took compromise, discussion, and give-and-take to produce an exhibition with so many people working on it.”

    “Everything was done democratically,” She said. “We voted on everything from the title of the exhibition, to the color of the walls.”

    Peacock said the MOA is planning to have more exhibitions, such as Seeking Rembrandt, which heavily involve student. The museum will now have at least one gallery open for experimental exhibits.

    Learning how a museum works in choosing an exhibition was the most rewarding aspect of the project, said Marianne Wardle, a graduate art history student who has worked on the project since winter semester.

    Students who were involved in the planning of the exhibition also act as guides for the exhibition. Every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., students lead groups through the exhibition. Individuals who are interested in receiving a free guided tour of the exhibition can call Martha Peacock at 378-2149 to arrange a tour.

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