Editor in Chief
The College of Wooster’s Art Museum (CWAM) has opened this semester with two new exhibits. The Burton D. Morgan Gallery features the Finnish artist Antti Laitinen self titled, multi-part video installation Antti Laitinen: It’s My Island. In the Sussel Gallery the work of the LTL Architects Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis are on display. Both shows offer alternative artistic representations through less than conventional mediums, which create a uniquely interactive viewing experience.
The LTL Architect exhibit is the gallery’s first architecture exhibit in over 25 years. Featuring the work of the architects who designed the exterior of Bornheutter Residence Hall, this exhibition includes that project’s drawings and plans, as well as 17 other architectural designs, both complete and speculative. Ambitiously modern, the drawings and accompanying models illustrate the firm’s imagined urban reality of the future.
The group explained in an interview that their designs’ intention is “to intensify and expand the impact of a reduced set of operations, asking less to be more, through the interweaving of functional engagement and material conditions.” While ultimately interested in designing integrated spaces that are multi-functional in the most simplistic way, it seems as though many of the resulting building plans lose their overall cohesion, arguably consistent with and reflective of their blatant modernity. Intricate in detail and seemingly invested in both purpose and functionality, the buildings fully embody the stark, streamlined nature that is so often the modern vision. The presentation of the exhibit on the whole was very successful. I could not help but want to examine the sketches, maps, diagrams, floor plans and models all lining the walls one after another. Personally, I found the content of the exhibit unrelatable, yet still an interesting insight into what could come to be, architecturally. Undeniably, the firm has creative, yet slightly extreme, solutions for our use of space in the future.
The second exhibit “It’s My Island,” is a three-channel video that shows the Finnish artist building his own island in the Baltic Sea over a three month period. As explained in the press release by The College of Wooster Art Museum, the “repetitively absurd performance…suggests complex questions about masculinity in nature, cultural identity and nation-building.” In the midst of crashing waves, the exhibit features 200 pilied bags of sand and tests the imaginative capacity and patience of the viewers.
Explaining his work, Laitinen rationalized that, “in my performances, I place myself in different absurd situations that underlie an ironic and personal take on various social and cultural phenomena. The absurdity comes from the seriousness with which it is performed.”
Overall, I was distracted by the monotony of the piece and thus found myself losing its context and larger intentions. However, the accompanying panel explaining the exhibit was successful in reiterating the larger meaning.
In addition to the gallery talk held this past Thursday, there will be a Faculty and Student Roundtable event on Thursday, Feb. 9 from 7-8 p.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Gallery, as well as a lunch and talk in the Gallery on Wednesday, Feb. 22 given by Kitty McManus Zurko, Director and Curator of The College of Wooster Art Museum.
The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10:30 a.m-4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. and is closed on Mondays. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.
For more information on the museum or the exhibits specifically, please visit www.artmuseum.wooster.edu, or visit The College of Wooster Art Museum’s Facebook page.