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Pomona College Museum of Art Launches New "Art in Dialogue" Initiative

Utagawa Hiroshige's "Fog at Mitsuke" from his series "The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido" is the current work on view for Art in Dialogue.

Utagawa Hiroshige's "Fog at Mitsuke" from his series "The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido" is the current work on view for Art in Dialogue.

The Pomona College Museum of Art is launching Art in Dialogue, a new forum for investigating the Museum's permanent collection. The series, which will be displayed in five-week increments, encourages creative and insightful discussions that reveal connections across the humanities, sciences and social sciences.

Selections will be made by students, faculty and staff of the Claremont Colleges, who are invited to propose an artwork from the collection for display. The work they select will be displayed in the Museum lobby for five weeks, accompanied by a text label written from the perspective of their academic or personal interests.

Terri Geis, the Museum’s curator of academic programs, explains, “The Museum’s permanent collection is highly diverse, with holdings that include Native American art, 15th century Italian panel paintings, prints from the 15th century to the present, a photography collection focused on 20th century America, and abstract and conceptual works by contemporary artists based in Southern California. The Art in Dialogue program will provide a means to engage our College community with these extensive resources, and highlight the ways in which visual art can richly inform and reflect many different areas of study.”

A print by the Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige from his series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido (1832-33) is currently on view and is the first selected by a student. Chosen by Benjamin Kersten, Pomona College Class of 2015, the print’s accompanying text label examines the significance of increased connections between East and West to artistic innovations in both regions. While making his selection, Kersten drew upon his recent studies of Japanese art with Scripps Professor of Art History Bruce Coats.

"It was,” says Kersten, “quite the rush being able to examine works of art first-hand and to select one for display, especially having just studied Japanese prints. Having access to resources like the Museum collection allows me to connect with my education and pursue my interests on a whole new level."

Members of the Claremont College community who would like to participate by making a selection for Art in Dialogue should contact Geis through the Museum.

The Art in Dialogue series is featured on the Museum’s website to heighten the visibility of rarely exhibited artworks and to expand the conversations generated by the art and text. “Our hope,” says Geis, “is that each selection will in turn inspire further research and engagement.”
 
Art in Dialogue is the first project launched as a result of the Museum’s recently established Museum Curriculum Collaboration (MC2), funded through a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The MC2 planning group, which includes six faculty members, Museum Director Kathleen Howe and curator Geis, was convened to create deeper and more consistent integration of the Museum into the teaching life of the College.
 
According to Howe, “The Museum, its objects, exhibitions and staff can be part of broader conversations about how we learn, how we evaluate ideas, and how we connect the visual to other forms of information. I’m looking forward to wide-ranging selections and exciting conversations about the artwork selected and the role of the Museum.”
 
The Pomona College Museum of Art (330 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA) is open to the public and free of charge, Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. during school semesters. For more information, call (909) 621-8283 or visit www.pomona.edu/museum.

The Museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets works of art; and houses a substantial permanent collection as well as serving as a gallery of temporary exhibitions. Important holdings include the Kress Collection of 15th- and 16th-century Italian panel paintings; more than 5,000 examples of Pre-Columbian to 20th-century American Indian art and artifacts, including basketry, ceramics and beadwork; and a large collection of American and European prints, drawings and photographs, including works by Francisco de Goya, José Clemente Orozco, and Rico Lebrun.