Student curates art exhibit

Student+curates+art+exhibit

The William Weege exhibit, an artist who focuses on using different forms of printmaking to make statements about contemporary life, was recently unveiled at the South Dakota Art Museum.

Samantha Berry, a senior history and French double major, curated the William Weege exhibit.

In preparation of her curating debut, she was able to interview William Weege in the summer of 2013 for an undergraduate research independent study and ask him about his art career and artwork.

“When I traveled to Wisconsin to interview William Weege, I went with the goal to find out what exactly motivated him as an artist. During our interview, we talked about how he came to be an artist, what inspired him through the years and his approach to creating his artwork,” Berry said. “Up until that point, I only knew about information on Weege through various texts, so to listen to him describe his experiences with printmaking and working with other artists brought all the previous information to a different light.”

The exhibit is open from March 3 to July 26, 2015. There was an opening exhibit on March 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The exhibit has 17 pieces by Weege. The pieces are a mixture of handmade paper collage, screenprint and off set lithograph, screenprint with flocking, handmade paper, handmade paper with flocking and handmade paper with hand-applied dye.

According to Berry, screenprinting is a technique that “involves forcing ink through a prepared screen in order to create a pattern or image on the paper underneath.” Flocking is a process that creates a texture on the piece.

The exhibit opening reception allowed attendees to look at the artworks and how Berry was able to mount and organize the varying pieces.

One opening attendee, Rachel Funk, a junior art education major, heard about the event through her job at the art museum.

“I was [at the museum] when it first went up,” Funk said. “It looked really interesting.” 

After guests had the chance to look at the different pieces, Berry gave a short presentation of her process of curating the exhibit, which was a two-step process.

“I really wanted to choose works that had social commentary,” Berry said. “William Weege commented on a variety of subjects through the 60s and 70s, including politics and general pop culture. Weege combined recognizable imagery and text to create prints which demonstrated his own visual opinions.”

During Berry’s presentation she included clips from her interview with Weege. In one of the clips, he discussed his art philosophy.

“Just do it,” Weege said. “You’ve got to try it; it’s part of your learning.”

His work shows that he believed in this philosophy through the different mediums he uses and his wish to comment on what was going on the world.

Lynnette Taylor, a Brookings community member, attended the event because she is a member of the Art Museum Guild.

“I’m just very interested in all the exhibits,” Taylor said. She really enjoyed the Weege Exhibit because it featured subject matter from the 1960s when she was growing up. She enjoyed that every piece within the display seemed so different.

“One of my favorite parts of this experience was the continual chance to learn something new,” Berry said. “With curating an exhibit, every single decision needs to be looked at from every possible angle, and with each step the South Dakota Art Museum staff gave me the confidence to make the final decisions and see them through.”

Berry advises students to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

“When opportunity knocks on your door, open it and do not look back. Do not let the fear of the unknown or the safety of your comfort zone dictate what you get out of this life,” Berry said. “It is much easier said than done, but if I have taken anything away from my time attending South Dakota State University or working at the South Dakota Art Museum, it is that one opportunity can blossom into two, into three, and so on.”