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News - Arts and Culture at MSU



Students, Professor, and Kresge Art Museum collaborate to present Beyond Beauty: A Contemporary Approach to Aesthetics

Saturday, April 18, 2009

EAST LANSING, MI — This semester, students enrolled in assistant professor Candace Keller’s art history course, Rethinking Aesthetics in Art and Everyday Life, got an in-depth exploration of the Kresge Art Museum and the day-to-day workings of the museum. With assistance from KAM staff, the students assembled and curated Beyond Beauty: A Contemporary Approach to Aesthetics, which explores and questions differing perspectives of aesthetics: a critical reflection on art, culture and nature. This exhibition will be on view in the Kresge Art Museum’s Perspectives Gallery April 18 through April 30, 2009. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, April 19, 4 - 6 p.m., with informative student-led tours at 4:30 and 5 p.m. This reception is free of charge, and the public is encouraged to attend. The exhibition is the final project in Keller’s class, where each student actively participated in the show’s development. A thematic title was chosen, objects from the KAM collection were selected for inclusion in the exhibition, and research conducted on the chosen artwork. Students were also assigned to groups representing different aspects of museum work. The tasks ranged from curatorial, graphic design and publicity to installation and education, with each group advised by a KAM staff member. “This exhibition project offers us a hands-on experience, a behind-the-scenes of the museum process,” said Ashley Kuhn, an Art History Senior in Keller’s class. “This project allowed us to really be a part of museum workings that otherwise we really don't get to see.” All semester the class has been exploring the various definitions of aesthetics in an attempt to move away from the more formal descriptions of the topic, especially those focused on beauty. The students were asked to re-evaluate their own pre-conceived ideas and explore other branches of the topic. They studied and discussed theories of culture, class, taste, beauty, horror, humor, anti-aesthetics and the everyday in relation to aesthetics. The theme of the show was chosen in an attempt to introduce the viewer to different perspectives of aesthetics, moving beyond the traditional illustrations of beauty. “Beauty does not apply to every artwork and it does not describe the affecting capacity of all aesthetic or art-related experiences,” writes Keller, in her course objectives. “Thus, in this course you will be asked to reconsider the notion of aesthetics as “beauty,” while you ponder the value of aesthetics in the creation and experience of art and expressive culture, and in more mundane daily realities.” The show uses works of art to consider diverse as well as controversial ideas of aesthetics. For additional information questions please contact Christine Nichols, KAM Communications & Events Coordinator, at (517) 353-9834, or via email at Admission is free to Kresge Art Museum. The museum is open Mondays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 8 p.m., weekends noon ¬to 5 p.m. Kresge Art Museum is located on the first floor of Kresge Art Center at the intersection of Physics and Auditorium Roads on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. For information, call (517) 355-7631 or visit # # #

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