Troy University art students had the unique opportunity to learn about coordinating an art exhibit from two professionals in the industry.
Students from the exhibition techniques class picked the brains of photographer, Jerry Siegel, and exhibition curator, Paul Barrett. IAC Director Carrie Jaxon explained that meeting the individuals responsible for the International Art Center’s next exhibit is a rare opportunity.
“Most people don’t get to meet the team that goes behind the exhibit,” Jaxon said. “It was just a unique opportunity for them to be able to listen to why certain images were chosen, Jerry’s work in photography and how an exhibit gets a name.”
Siegel creates the art, but the curator is the mastermind behind what work is displayed.
“That’s their job,” Siegel said, “Telling their story with my work.”
Additionally, Barrett was the one who suggested hosting an exhibit at the IAC. He wanted to focus on Siegal’s work that was photographed in the Black Belt regions of the South.
“I offer him things that I feel strongly about,” Siegel said. “I don’t open up everything I’ve ever done. So if it’s work that’s here, it is work that I feel strongly about.”
The story that Barrett is aiming to tell is one about the diverse people and landscape of the South that is titled “The Tender Land; The Promise of Living.” The title of the exhibit is inspired by the opera “The Tender Land” which was inspired by the photography book “Let us now Praise Famous Men,” which featured impoverished families in rural Alabama.
“It’s an homage to the way many writers and photographers try to portray rural southern scenes in a sympathetic light as well as thinking about the ways that people are influenced by other artwork to make something new that is also wonderful and different from their inspirations,” Barrett explained.
Barrett positioned the pieces in ways that would be most visually impactful for the audience. For instance, he added a temporary wall to the center of the IAC that features a large panoramic photo that would draw people in.
“When someone first walks in the front door, it’s difficult to see all of the wall going down either side because you’re at a 90-degree angle to anything that would be hanging there,” Barrett said. So, I asked Carrie if it would be possible to put a temporary wall in the middle of the space.”
The reception for the exhibit will be on January 26 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Watch this story on TrojanVision.