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Crowdsourced exhibition and Aves on view at the Maier

A new exhibition at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College represents the combined curatorial work of multiple members of the College community.


Red Umbrella by Colleen Browning

Crowdsourced from the Permanent Collection: Randolph Curates features 30 works of art requested by Randolph students, faculty, staff, and alumnae for the spring exhibition.  Some of the art on display is well-known in the community—such as Colleen Browning’s Red Umbrella, which is on view at the Maier frequently—while others have not been exhibited for decades.

“It’s nice to see those old favorites come out—and then to see new favorites, too,” said Martha Johnson, director of the Maier.

The staff at the Maier frequently ask Randolph faculty to share ideas about ways the spring exhibition could be relevant to themes being discussed in the College curriculum. But in preparation for the current exhibitions, Johnson decided to extend an open invitation to other members of the Randolph community.

Tempio di Minerva Medica vicino à Porta Maggiore by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Tempio di Minerva Medica vicino à Porta Maggiore by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

It is the Maier’s first official “crowdsourced” exhibition, but several other institutions, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, have curated exhibitions by asking their audience to suggest works of art to include. Johnson asked members of the community to browse the online catalog of the College’s art collection and select what they would like to see.

Chris Cohen, a programmer in Randolph’s information technology department and an adjunct art professor, was one of the first to respond with a request. “I am lucky enough to frequent the storage area in the Maier several times a year and am always finding something new that I didn’t know we had,” he said. He suggested several etchings that have a common appearance and theme—they depict buildings, boats, and other manmade objects in states of disrepair.

He is looking forward to seeing the end result. “I think that curation is an art form in itself and I’m fascinated to see how they tie all the recommendations together into a cohesive show,” Cohen added.

In addition to the crowdsourced exhibition, the Maier is showing Aves: Birds from the Natural History and Art Collections at Randolph College. The exhibition includes 16 works of art and 20 bird specimens that were recently donated from the private collection of the renowned wildlife illustrator Walter Weber.

Flamingo Sleeping by Beth Van Hoesen

Flamingo Sleeping by Beth Van Hoesen

The exhibition was organized as a way to highlight the history and aesthetics of ornithological specimens and avian art in both collections. “We have a very important collection of American art, and we also have a really impressive natural history collection,” Johnson said. “Randolph College is a destination for students who are interested in working in collections management because of these really distinctive aspects of the college.”

The exhibitions will open with a reception on Thursday, January 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. They will be on view until April 12.


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