Peripheral Visions in Focus

History tells his story, a narrative constructed by the dominant forces of society that often overlooks the stories and perspectives of underrepresented races, classes, and genders. But what about her story? What about their story? What about your story? By shifting visual focus from the center to the periphery, a transition is made from passive looking to active seeing. What is and what is not represented? How is it represented, and why? Seeing remains a conscious choice of how one chooses to interpret the world, and one must recognize that the so-called people of the periphery prove as critical to understanding the world as the so-called people of the center. Peripheral Visions in Focus attempts to redirect the power of the mainstream, or center, to the periphery, or margins, of society by re-presenting the underrepresented. The past cannot be rewritten, but by confronting and challenging his story, we may properly write our story of the future.

Under the guidance of Professor Cheryl Finley and Associate Director/Ames Curator of Education Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski, we—the students of “The Museum and the Object,” cosponsored this semester by the American Studies Program as the Rabinor Seminar—have organized an installation stressing the importance of critical diversity. The works we have selected reflect a range of subjects, from Berenice Abbott’s Former Slave Market on Georgia along Rt. 1 to Kamrooz Aram’s drawing from the series Mystical Visions and Cosmic Vibrations, as well as a range of media, from the mixed-media piece of Betye Saar to the photographs of Robert Frank and Margaret Bourke-White. We hope this carefully selected collection of works creates an internal and external dialogue for our viewers about race and gender and their relationship to the American Dream. A special thank you to the Rabinor family for challenging us to contemplate the role of critical diversity in the American art museum today.

Fall 2012 Museum and the Object/Rabinor Seminar
Kimerly Cornish
Chelsea Finical
Alexandra Glassman
Kira Pritchard
Ka Ki Wong
Theresa Wynn
Melinda Zoephel