Sunday, October 23, 2011

Installation Art that Makes You Stop and Think at Deerfield Academy

Parents' Weekend at Deerfield Academy was thrilling, from the attending of classes (what a pleasure to be able to listen as a break) and to do "speed-dating," that is, meet with one's child's teachers in 5 minute increments with, usually, a good 5-10 minute walk in between the classroom buildings.

The above were all highlights and I can't, as a parent, thank the amazing teachers sufficiently for their passion, knowledge, and clear love of their subjects and the worlds that they open up for the students! The same goes for the wonderful coaches (by the way, my daughter's varsity field hockey team won yesterday and their season has been terrific).

What made the weekend truly special was the installation art (some of which is featured above) done painstakingly by a Deerfield Academy student. I have included only some of my favorite sayings captured in the photos above taken yesterday.

Yes, you may have recognized the sayings on the little white houses on the Deerfield Academy (DA) campus as all being Emily Dickinson's, the great poet of Amherst!

According to the writeup on the DA website:

According to Peter Krasznekewics, the junior at DA, and the one behind this art installation, the concept behind Action Art is to create art that “brings together different forces that result in a positive experience for the viewers, the participants, and communities…the interchange of physical art, written words, different spaces, green materials, and diverse communities will produce a unique, constructive impact on society.” Inspired in part by the works of the environmental artist Christo, The Little White House Project, which will be moved to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst (MA) in the spring of 2012, has several goals: to reinvent and complement the landscape of two historical sites; to showcase Emily Dickinson and share her profound view of the world; to demonstrate the use of the green building materials that the houses are made of; and to eventually “up-cycle” the houses as material to be used in the construction of a Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity house. However, the houses’ final destination may be put off for a while, since the Boston Children’s Museum recently expressed an interest in displaying the installation after its Amherst residency.

The best kind of art surprises you and makes one stop and think.

I was reminded by the installation art of Anna Schuleit, a MacArthur Fellow, and also a former Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard (the latter plus our first names we have in common).

If you recall, Schuleit's "Just a Rumor," created a great sensation when it was completed at UMass Amherst and was even covered by the Wall Street Journal (yes, even business folks need art). She painted the face upside down whose reflection then appeared right-side-up in our campus pond! While I had originally made a suggestion as to the identity of the face, Ms. Schuleit has corrected me and indicated that the face was not the face of any particular person.

If you want more information on "Just a Rumor," see the UMass FAC press release or the artist's project page.

Yesterday, I saw geniuses in the making at Deerfield!