ART AND THE
NATURE OF CHANGE
Designing the History of Art Students' Association's Annual 2020 Undergraduate Research Journal and Symposium.
As the 2019-2020 Creative Director for the History of Art Students' Association, it was my pleasure to visualize the artistic image of this year's symposium and journal. Our theme - Art and the Nature of Change - sought to address the role of art and visual culture in influencing, reflecting, responding to, and giving meaning to moments of change. We invited undergraduates to explore how artists and art movements negotiate periods of political, technological, social, religious, institutional and environmental change through their interactions with artworks and with the culture of objects and museums. The theme of Art and the Nature of Change, as exemplified by the research of our eight contributors, is meant to highlight how art never functions independently from its environment and moment in history but rather evolves with it and often works to be a visual relic of what is temporal and ephemeral.
The creative process began very early in the fall semester and progressed from the embryonic stages of conceptualizing the topic to finally producing the completed academic journal in late February. Many prototypes were made in the hopes of narrowing down what the final image would be. After numerous hours of jotting down ideas, collaborating with other exec members, and endless failed attempts, we settled on the blurred butterfly with pink duct tape.
Butterflies have been the symbol of change since the scientific revolution and biological study. Their metamorphosis from larvae to cocoon to winged-insect has inspired many transformative works of art and fiction. Compositionally, the butterfly with its intrinsic connection to nature is set in the background while the pink duct tape takes the foreground. The tape is plastered on top almost as if it is covering up a broken wing. Contemporary art has seen a lot of duct tape as of recently. In particular, Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian (2019), which consisted of a fresh banana taped to a wall with a piece of duct tape. The work drew significant media attention at Art Basel Miami after two editions of the piece sold for $120,000 USD. Comedian questions what constitutes art? In a way, it changes the way we think about it and what we value most. Art and the Nature of Change seeks to address these questions and to reconcile these momentous moments of change.
Although this project required many hours and long sleepless nights, it has been one of my most cherished experiences. For more information and to download an open-access copy of the Undergraduate Research Journal, please visit the official History of Art History Students' Association website here. HASA publishes journals annually so be sure to follow their journey on social media!
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