ARTS AND HUMANITIES
Colby’s continued support of the arts and humanities has given students, faculty, and the greater Waterville community access to world-class resources in the arts.
Founded in 2017, Colby’s Lunder Institute for American Art has positioned itself as a leader in American art scholarship and has distinguished the Colby College Museum of Art as one of the finest college art museums in the country. Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities, founded in 2012 thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “celebrates the pivotal role of the arts and humanities in the intellectual life of the College and the community, and it promotes the long-term benefits of the skills developed through humanistic research.”
RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY
The Digital Maine Project at Colby uses traditional liberal arts approaches to historical, ethical, material, and visual analysis to explore key developments in the recent history of Maine, as well as trends that reflect larger changes in American culture from the 1960s to today.
Recent projects include “Mapping Waterville,” “Allen Island: Tracing the Midcoast, and “Franco Memory through Song.” Descriptions of these projects can be found by visiting the Digital Maine Project’s website.
NEW MUSEUM CULTURE IN CHINA
I write to inform you that the ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows Program (SFF) Selection Committee met this past week and has now concluded its review of this year’s large pool of applications. It is my pleasure to inform you that your proposal has been selected as one of nine recipients of a SFF Award. Congratulations!
— ASIANetwork Award Letter Excerpt
Ankeney Weitz, Ellerton M. and Edith K. Jetté Professor of Art, and Mariola Alvarez, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, led a Colby team of five students to Beijing, China where they volunteered at the Inside Out Museum of Art and conducted research on the New Museum Culture in China through visits to museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and collectors homes. The team’s findings were communicated through a daily blog during the time in Asia, and they are creating a website to disseminate their findings.
The project’s objective was to study the growth of “cultural industries” in China through examining the role museums, especially contemporary art museums, play in society and politics. The team spent three weeks in Beijing, with each morning dedicated to working at the Inside Out Museum of Art in Beijing, and each afternoon given to trips to other museums and galleries, artists’ studios, collectors’ homes, auction houses, or arts districts. A three-day “field trip” to Shanghai was taken to collect comparative information about the city’s art museum scene. Although all of their activities were conducted as a group, each student fellow selected a topic of focus for his or her research: governmental and legal regulation in the museum sector; museum education and audience reception; advertising and public relations for museums and artists; museum architecture, including a consideration of geographic location, as well as the phenomenological experience of space; presentation of non-Chinese art in Beijing museums; and art markets and public/private art collecting in relation to museums. During their time in the PRC, daily blogs described activities, with a rotating schedule for posts; a website will be transformed into a more formal platform for the communication findings, with student essays and photographs.
THE ART OF ZAO WOU-KI
The Colby College Museum of Art, in partnership with Asia Society Museum, is organizing the first American retrospective exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2013), a major figure in mid-twentieth century abstract art. The exhibition, No Limits: The Art of Zao Wou-Ki, will examine the career of this Chinese-born French artist and offer a nuanced perspective of international art movements of the last century. Zao Wou-Ki was one of the first superstar artists of the Chinese diaspora, prefiguring contemporary artists like Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, and Xu Bing. In 1948, he immigrated to Paris from Shanghai and soon took the international art world by storm. Championed by French literati and artists, Zao was a major presence in European art of the second half of the twentieth century. American museums and private buyers also avidly collected his paintings in the 1950s and 1960s and, after the mid-1970s, Zao became increasingly recognized in Asia as the leading master of modern Chinese oil paintings.
PARTNERSHIPS AND PROGRAMS
CENTER FOR THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES
We aim to make the Humanities the conceptual and physical crossroads of the campus, where students and faculty meet to research, study, and debate topics of shared concern and to create a vibrant culture of creative and innovative work in the various fields that comprise the Arts and Humanities.
—William D. Adams, President of Colby College (2000-2014)
The Center, established through an extraordinary grant in 2012 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, celebrates the pivotal role of the arts and humanities in the intellectual life of the College and the community, and it promotes the long-term benefits of the skills developed through humanistic research.
Each year, the Center hosts an annual theme with accompanying guest lectures, courses, humanities labs, and events. The 2017 Center for the Arts and Humanities theme, Origins, took an interdisciplinary look into where we come from and where our world is going. On April 3, 2018, Colby welcomed Dr. Cornel West to campus as the Center’s keynote speaker.
The humanities will play an even larger role in Colby’s expanding cross-campus and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the environment.
A grant award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has launched an environmental humanities initiative building on current and existing strengths, particularly with the College’s Environmental Studies Program, and establishing an innovative new research and teaching focus at Colby.
This new focus will bring artistic, cultural, ethical, historical, and literary perspectives to environmental topics and will enhance opportunities for faculty collaboration across disciplines and departments, linking courses and scholarship while supporting new curricular connections across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
LUNDER INSTITUTE FOR AMERICAN ART
We are pleased to share with you the wonderful news of a gift to the Colby College Museum of Art from Peter and Paula Lunder, preeminent collectors of American Art and longtime Colby benefactors.
During a meeting of the Colby Trustees in Boston on February 2, 2017, Colby announced that it has received another gift of more than $100 million from Peter and Paula Lunder. This donation will add nearly 1,150 artworks to the Museum’s collection and will launch the Lunder Institute for American Art, establishing Colby as the only liberal arts college with a world-class art museum and a global research center on American Art. The Lunder Institute will be dedicated to the practice, study, and exhibition of American art, and will transform Colby’s art collection and scholarly activities by bringing together artists, curators, scholars, and students through cross-disciplinary engagement.
This unique group of paintings, sculptures, photography, and works on paper, date from a 1501 engraving by Albrecht Dürer to a 2014 aquatint by Julie Mehretu, and represents more than 150 artists, including: Mary Cassatt, Jasper Johns, Nina Katchadourian, Jacob Lawrence, Maya Lin, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenburg, Betye Saar, Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, and James McNeill Whistler.
These works will have a major impact on the Museum’s acclaimed collection, which previously contained approximately 8,000 works, and will also serve the teaching mission of the Museum and the College by deeply integrating into the curriculum and becoming a vibrant part of college life.
We hope you make plans to visit the Museum and the new Lunder Institute for American Art, and we look forward to working with you as we continue to invest in the arts at Colby and build an exciting destination for artist, scholars, curators, and visitors.
Carolyn Muzzy Director of the Colby College Museum of Art and Chief Curator
Director of the Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs at Colby College