Museum Collections class creates “Donald Judd” exhibition at museum

The Seton Hill University (SHU) Museum Collections class’ exhibition “Donald Judd and His Contemporaries”opened on Nov. 16 and is on display at the Westmoreland Museum. The exhibition features the work of Donald Judd, Daniel Bolick, Julia Warhola, Paul Warhola and Diane Samuels.

Doug Evans, the Collections Manager at Westmoreland Museum, has been teaching the students about the process of preparing an exhibition.

“Throughout the semester, our teacher, Doug Evans, brought in different men and women who have careers in the art industry. For example, a woman came in to teach us about art restoration and how she works in a museum setting. We also were able to go on behind the scenes tours of the museum, including the vault where they keep the paintings not on display,” said junior communications major Sarah Oldham.

A short film documentary on the artist David Bolick entitled “100 People That I Know,” created by SHU students Daniel Grushecky, Amanda Dumi, Emily Franicola and Sarah Oldham, is also featured in the exhibit.

“We went to his [Bolick’s] house and recorded him painting and talking about his life, artwork and family,” said Oldham. Grushecky and Dumi filmed the documentary “while Emily and I helped with sound and asking the questions,” said Oldham.

Creating the exhibit allowed the SHU students to experience the work and decisions that go into making museum exhibits.

“The class essentially laid out and planned the entire exhibit. This involved us going into the vault, choosing pieces, how to display them, requesting to borrow pieces from local artists, writing extensive labels, advertising, public relations, etc…the to do list kept going on and on!” said Livia Vissat, a junior communications major.

“Another important thing to remember when preparing an exhibition is to display the art in a way that will appeal to most people. It’s easy to be selfish and set up the exhibition a certain way just because of personal preference. We had to consider that not everyone looks at art the same way, so we tried to pick colors and a layout that would make the visitors comfortable,” said Oldham.

Students worked together as well as completed individual tasks in order to finish the exhibit.

“I helped write up the blurbs about the artist-who they are and what they did. Everybody helped pick the pieces to display,” said Annemarie Balfe, junior art history major.

Students involved in the process found the experience to be both educational and enjoyable.

“It was really great to see how we all could collaborate together with our different skills and talents, bringing forward a successful exhibition. For the most part, putting together the exhibition was for educational purposes since the nature of our class was ‘behind the scenes’ of how a museum generally operates. However, it also served a purpose to be creative and have fun with the process,” said Vissat.

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