Museum Insights

USF students put their art studies knowledge to the test in an exhibition featuring works from the USF Graphicstudio.


By Laura Kneski

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 11, 2012) – The exhibition, titled “The World Unseen,” featured works from the University of South Florida’s Graphicstudio and highlighted the knowledge students had gleaned from their art studies.


The pieces demonstrated the concept of liminality, which was defined in the curatorial statement by student Mercedes Bujáns as something that “forms a transitional threshold, a state between accepted norms and imaginative reconstruction of alternatives.”


Students Chelsea Howell and Estefania Velez, both majoring in Studio Art, designed the exhibit itself by deciding which pieces “flowed” best together. Howell expanded on their concept of liminality.


“It’s being stuck in between two places and what is the in-between, and a lot of our pieces are out of focus. The Christian Marclays have sound words in them, and so that’s like there’s no beginning and there’s no end to the sound, so it’s stuck in the middle of the action.”


Christian Marclay is an international artist who has works displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and other museums around the world. In 2010, he visited USF’s Graphicstudio to create a sixty-foot scroll depicting sound collages. Three of his pieces were included in “The World Unseen.”


The exhibition is part of Professor Noel Smith’s class, Atalier Management and History, a course that is part of the Museum Studies graduate program. Many of the students in the class are oriented towards a career within the Arts and the exhibition, which took place at Graphicstudio earlier this month, is a collaborative effort from the start of the semester up to the reception.


Melissa Meyer, along with Emily Cannington, was in charge of creating all of the didactic materials for the event, composing booklets that held information about the artworks and theme. Meyer has a B.A. in Art History and is currently in the Museum Studies certificate program.


“We were given so much authority over own roles, you know, whereas if you’re interning you’re going to have someone directing you more, but in this class the aim was to get us to experience all of it. The collaborative process taught us all a lot.”


Alexandra Curran, who has a Master’s degree in Library Science, agreed. Curran was the co-registrar of the exhibit, along with Melanie Depcinski. They were in charge of the exhibition’s paperwork, bringing the pieces into the gallery and acquiring the loans of the works from the Contemporary Art Museum on campus.


The goal of the course was to show students that each exhibition follows similar steps, beginning with a curatorial premise, or overall summation and explanation of the message being depicted by the theme. After the goal is set and the works are chosen, the installation process occurs and a press release is issued to the public in order to invite viewers to the reception.


Helen Bentley, majoring in General Studies, was in charge of catering the reception. She was impressed with Jim Campbell’s The Library, an L.E.D. continuous motion-image that blurs the line between still-image and motion picture.


Graphicstudio was founded in 1968, since then producing thousands of prints on the USF campus designed by professional artists. They etch their images onto copper plates, at which point research assistant and Master Printer Timothy Baker applies a medium to the plates and creates prints. Graphicstudio will usually produce about 35 multiples of each piece, each one technically an original because they are all produced by the artists’ primary etching. These pieces are then sold and displayed in museums.


The exhibit took the entire semester to put together, and as Bentley put it, “I thought, you know, you just have to pack up some art. No, it’s way more than that.”