On June 4th, faculty member Thomas Werner opened the exhibition, “The Museum: Within and Without”, as part of an international collaboration with the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This was the7th joint project with the Hermitage and one of our best. Parsons MFA and BFA students; Andrea Ibarra, Amanda Strukus, Ashley Middleton, Kalman Pool, Kelsey O’Brien, Kyle Meyer, Margaret Friedman, Marissa Fey, Martim Passos, Sarah Yee, Sofia Colvin, Varvana Mikushkina, Umber Majeed, Veronica Constabile, and Yuner Shao participated in the exhibition. Kyle and Yuner joined a post opening discussion regarding the exhibition via skype.
“The Museum: Within and Without” explores not only architectural representation, but the museum and the city itself as a context for conceptual exploration. Andrea Ibarra’s photographs take quotidian architectural spaces and recontextualize them as beautiful and elegant abstractions. Amanda Strukus has utilized imagery found on Google search to create idealized social spaces that are a reflection of societies frequent desire to present altruistic representations of the everyday. Kelsey O’Brien and Ashley Middleton use the city as a stage to question our role in a contemporary urban context. Alternately, the urban spaces in Kyle Meyer’s photographs deal with the area between life and death. Each of these young artists, as well as the others in this exhibition, ask us to consider a specific social or cultural aspect of our lives and our societies. Many of these themes are universal, resonating across both our cultures, others are specific to the urban spaces within our respective communities. All of the imagery in the exhibition serves as a stepping off point for the larger social, technological, and art cultural conversations taking place in both our countries, which has always been one of the strengths of this collaboration.