Acquisition by Museum Collecting pilot class by Anthony Bald '17 for Pomona College News

"Class Acquires New Work for the Pomona College Museum of Art Collection, Learns About Museum Acquisition," by Anthony Bald '17, Pomona College News

Installed in the lobby of the Pomona College Museum of Art, Directed (North) radiates a raw artistic power. Created by artist Rose B. Simpson, the piece’s acquisition by the museum and inclusion in its Art in Dialogue series is particularly special: It was chosen by students. It is on display through May 17.

The fall 2014 pilot class Museum Collecting was created to give students a behind-the-scenes look at the detailed process of art acquisition and museum curating. Under the guidance of Professor of Art History and Museum Director Kathleen Howe, 13 Pomona students began the semester by researching contemporary artists whose work relates to the environment and the elements. The goal: Choose one piece of art to acquire for the museum’s collection.

Howe wanted students to understand how college museum collections are formed and used, and the many issues that go into choosing an acquisition, including how a work fits into educational goals and the current collection, care and preservation of the work, the cost, and the artist’s oeuvre and history. “I wanted them to have a sense of ownership, in a very real way,” says Howe.

Inevitably, the choice was a difficult one. After narrowing a selection of artists to three contenders, the class divided into teams. Team Rose (Zoë Jameson ’15, Miranda Starr ’15, Rebecca Chen ’16, and Adam Starr ’18) advocated for Simpson’s piece; after a dramatic vote at the end of the semester, Directed (North) became the class’s legacy.