Pop culture introduced in a new way
Cameron University’s Art Department has recently released its first ever exhibition catalogue titled “#Hashtag.”
Fixated on the concept of popular culture and its influence on society, the exhibition features works from 15 contemporary artists from across the country.
CU art students received the opportunity to create a design featuring the chosen works.
Juror Megan Rigoni-McCormic then selected which collection would be published. In the end, senior Amanda Lenhardt had her design chosen.
Instructor of Graphic Design Dave Kube said “#Hashtag” originated as an assignment for his Advanced Graphic Design students. With the campus lacking an exhibition space, Kube said he thought the project would be a great addition to CU.
“I decided that it would be a good idea for us to put together an exhibition catalogue. One of the things the school lacks is a gallery space, so we don’t really get any exposure to outside artists and artwork that could start an interesting dialogue,” Kube said. “With my class, we settled on an exhibition about popular culture.”
To begin the project, Kube said he and his class posted a call for art and accepted submissions for over a month. Rigoni-McCormic then selected the best fifteen pieces and provided students with explanations for each of her choices, helping the class to learn and see her process.
“We did a national call,” Kube said. “We posted on different websites that artists look at asking people to submit work in response to the ideas of popular culture and its effects on society. We had over 50 entries. Then we had an outside juror who selected the work that went into the catalogue, and she narrowed it down to fifteen final artists.”
While students had to use the same works of art, they were free to add their own touch when designing the layouts for the collection.
“Each student designed his or her own catalogue,” Kube said. “They submitted it to a PDF, and the juror selected the final, official catalogue.”
Art major Amanda Lenhardt said she was excited to see her collection selected for final publication.
“It was a good learning experience to learn how to put everything together to make it cohesive and work,” she said. “It was interesting reading the artists’ statements and realizing what the works meant to them,” Lenhardt said. “It meant more than what it just looked like.”
While Kube said only a few copies will actually be printed, students and faculty can find the exhibition online or on the monitor located in the MCC’s Inasmuch Art Gallery.
“We had a run of 30. We are giving one copy to every artist that was selected, one for the juror and a few for the faculty members. It is a very small run,” Kube said, “but it was a nice way to celebrate the people that were selected for the catalogue.”
Kube believes the project allowed students to see styles of art normally not found inside a textbook.
“It highlights national artists that are doing really contemporary work,” Kube said. “We are talking about things such as social media and YouTube videos. There are so many pieces in these that are just relevant to what students are dealing with.”
Besides exposing students to art outside of their immediate circle, Kube said he has enjoyed the opportunity to show his students a different side to the publishing process. As many students are used to submitting works to shows, he said they may have never considered what goes on behind the scene.
“As a class we went over all the entries so that they could see what the work was that got submitted and so that they could see the outcome of how the juror selected. The whole process is important for students to see how selection processes work when they are submitting works to shows.”