In the art department here at Pittsburg State, an exciting exhibit is in the works. Continuing in our tribute to Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibit that will be coming to the MoMA, the art education class is erecting an interactive cut-outs exhibit. We've requested for surrounding elementary art teachers to create Matisse Triptychs with their classes to be displayed with our exhibit. Across the largest wall of the second floor Student Space Gallery is a large piece of black paper with intermingling Matisse-esque figures. During the gallery the art education class will provide the gallery visitors to interact with the exhibit by placing construction paper cut-outs on the black paper. By the end of the gallery, which is open from September 5th - October 24th, the entire black paper will be a collaborative tribute to the work of Henri Matisse.
There are many ways to think about art and exhibits, but there are five basic beliefs or perspectives that are often used when people make judgements about what they see. The beliefs are expressionist, instrumentalist, formalist, imitationalist, and institutionalist. That's a lot of "-ist"s, so let's break it down in terms of our upcoming gallery.
Expressionist simply means that an artwork's significance comes from the feelings or moods that it provokes or conveys. In the case of Matisse MASH-UP the bright colors and whimsy, wonky shapes convey a sense of jubilation and care free abandon. Matisse himself found a freedom and joy when he switched from painting to cut-outs, this feeling rubs off on the viewer as they explore the exhibit.
Formalist perspectives focus on the parts of the work or gallery and how they fit together. There is far less focus on a message and more focus on the arrangement. For this gallery we plan to include an almost overwhelming number of Matisse Triptychs surrounding a large portion of the gallery along with the long collaborative piece intermingled with Matisse forms. The formalist analysis of the gallery would focus on how the space is unified by consistency and repetition of shapes and colors creating a harmony within the gallery.
Instrumentalist beliefs find importance in their function, what they get the viewers to think or how it causes them to behave. Because our exhibit is interactive, there is a strong sense of this perspective as people contribute to the collaborative artwork.
Imitationalist artworks are significant in their representation of the real world. For our gallery we are mimicking the work of Henri Matisse, by copying works that already exist we are being imitators.
Institutionalist beliefs say that because an artist says it's are, it is. It has nothing to do with how important of significant an artwork is but that is its intended as art and that is placed within the context that art should reside. This belief system focuses on the artist's intent and location. In this gallery the artists, the art education class, intends for the works to be considered art. We have also set up the display in an established gallery, a context in which people are accustomed to viewing art.