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April 26 - June 1, 2013

senior art image

(A)  I am for an art of being you, following your passion.

(B)  I am for an art that freezes on facial hair.

(C)  I am for an art that makes you giggle and blush.

(D)  I am for an art that inspires.

(E)  I am for an art that is not taught in the classroom.

(F)  I am for an art that wakes you up in the morning, and keeps you up at night.

(G)  I am for an art of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

(H)  I am for an art that makes me feel like I am somewhere else.

(I)  I am for an art that lingers like cheap perfume.


In 1961, the Swedish-American artist Claes Oldenburg wrote a manifesto entitled, “I am for an art…”.  Irreverent yet shamanistic, the manifesto lists seventy-six declarations that celebrate non-conformist concepts that blur the line between art and life.  The text reflects Oldenburg’s early gritty aesthetic, as well as his ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.  An excerpt:

I am for the art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind man’s metal stick.

I am for the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies at night, like lightning, that hides in the clouds and growls.  I am for art that is flipped on and off with a switch.

I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your sweetie’s arm, or kiss, like a pet dog.  Which expands and squeaks, like an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.

This exhibition features artwork by graduating seniors who are part of the capstone course for studio art majors, a.k.a. the SYE (Senior Year Experience).  After reading Oldenburg’s text, the students wrote their own manifestos outlining various perspectives about what art can and should be.  As for Oldenburg early in his career, the manifestos have served as a guide, helping students to define their budding artistic practices as they explore a variety of aesthetic and conceptual approaches to art making.  Through much experimentation and a semester’s worth of critical dialogue, the students have developed mature bodies of work examining a range of topics including identity, gun control, mortality, sexuality, and imagination.

— Peter Nelson, SYE Professor


Featuring: (A) Steve Buskey, (B) Sheila Eastman, (C) Ilka Hadlock, (D) Feiona Maxwell, (E) Chelsea Priebe, (F) Cory Ransom, (G) Molly Simpson, (H) Martina Svrchek, and (I) Ericka Vasquez. Text inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s 1961 manifesto I Am for an Art....


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