For the past several months second-year MFA candidates in the CU-Boulder Art & Art History program have spent time visiting the collections and meeting with curators and collections managers at the university’s Museum of Natural History in the areas of anthropology, botany, entomology, paleontology and zoology.
Seven students, John DeFeo, Corrina Expinosa, Ariana Kolins, Ben McQuillan, Roberta Restaino, Carissa Samaniego and Adam Sekular have produced new artwork in response to the process of collecting, storing and sharing a rich and diverse cultural archive.
The resulting exhibition, (Re)Collecting: Translating Archive and Excavating Memory, is on display through March in the University of Colorado Boulder Museum of Natural History’s BioLounge. Admission is free and open to the public.
"With this exhibition we enter these visual documents into the archive of our social moment– when we were conscious of the operations that constructed our understanding of the past.”
The exhibition explores the human relationship with memory, both an individual’s own and the memory of others, and how that memory is often supplemented by the use of an archive.
The artists’ statement describes the archive and the MFA exhibition this way:
This archive can be physical, like the collection of a museum, or digital like the ever-increasing records carefully curated online. This archive can be formal—processed carefully, recorded meticulously, stored in jars, vitrines, and in acid- and lignin-free files to preserve against the impact of time.
Archives can also be informal, of an individual’s personal design—a shoebox full of family photos from past generations, a list of favorite movies or songs, letters in the drawer of a bedside table from the loved ones.
Collections become reflections of our world; our taxonomy of values, our construction of history.
(Re)Collecting is a response to the permanent collections of CU Museum of Natural History. This collection is an archive of immense diversity, including ancient tools, native species of plants and animals, and remnants of past worlds in many forms.
“Looking at this archive as well as our own vernacular history as living, active, documents to be reflected upon and translated, the works included in this exhibition range from external observations of the natural world to deeply personal retrospectives of childhood memories. With this exhibition we enter these visual documents into the archive of our social moment– when we were conscious of the operations that constructed our understanding of the past.”
For more information on the CU Museum of Natural History, click here.