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Paper + People is a blog about the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection of over 18,000 prints, drawings, and photographs. Here you will find a diverse array of posts written by museum staff, students, scholars, and other paper enthusiasts about anything pertaining to the collection.

Any works you see featured here are available to view by appointment.

  • Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Announcing the 2014-2015 Student Picks Winners!

    Photography by Maggie Kurkoski

    The Student Picks Sweepstakes ended last Friday, and we have our six winners!

    Student Picks gives students the chance to curate their own personal, individual art show using works from the Museum, on view for one day in the Cunningham Center for Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Six lucky students are chosen by lottery as part of a campus-wide sweepstakes that takes place each September.

    Photography by Maggie Kurkoski

    Jessica Nicoll, director of the Museum, came by the Cunningham Center this past Monday to pick our six winners and two alternates, drawn from 525 ballots in all!

    This year’s Student Picks winners are ...

              November 7, 2014 – Kyle Boyd '15

              December 5, 2014 – Emily Kim '15

              February 6, 2015 – Yu Yan '18

              March 6, 2015 – Samantha Page '17

              April 3, 2015 – Niyati Dave '15

              October 2, 2015 - Hui Yan '17

    Congratulations to the 2014-15 winners!

    Photography by Maggie Kurkoski

    The first Student Picks show of the year is fast approaching. Lingxuan Li ’17 will present her art exhibition from 1-4PM on October 3, delving into the world of sarcastic and pointed political art. We hope to see you there!


  • Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Reinstallation & Reinterpretation

    The Works-On-Paper Gallery, 2nd floor
    Photography by Henriette Kets de Vries

    Summers at the Smith College Museum of Art are usually tranquil, but this summer we've been busy with Phase I of one huge project: the Reinstallation and Reinterpretation of the permanent collection! It all started when our director and chief curator, Jessica Nicoll, decided that the Museum's walls needed a fresh coat of paint (after all, it had been over ten years since the opening of the new building). As all the art would need to come down from the walls anyway, she realized that it was a great chance to look at the collection in a new light.

    For the past two years, we've been discussing and planning just how to do that. It's a two-part process: this summer, we focused on the second and third floor galleries, where we house works spanning ancient Egypt through eighteenth-century Europe. Next summer we'll renovate the lower level and first floor of the Museum.

    Aprile Gallant, Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, hangs a work with Stephanie Sullivan, Assistant Preparator
    Photography by Henriette Kets de Vries

    For those of us in the Cunningham Center, the Reinstallation is an opportunity to bring even more prints, drawings and photographs out to the public. On the second floor, in the works-on-paper gallery, we will have a show about the origins of the Museum's paper collection, with art from professors, alumnae, students, clubs, and everyone else who planted the seeds of the Cunningham Center.

    Photography by Henriette Kets de Vries

    Photography by Henriette Kets de Vries

    Displaying paper can be tricky: too much light damages photographs, prints and drawings relatively quickly, so these works cannot be in the galleries as long as a painting or a statue. Limiting their exposure to light is essential.

    Still, we wanted to bring even more artworks on paper into the permanent galleries. Our solution: works-on-paper cabinets with drawers, so that visitors can open and see the art themselves.

    A Works-On-Paper cabinet on the second floor

    The art in the cabinets will build on the ideas and themes of nearby art on the walls on the second and third floors. They will change once or twice a year, so even more paper-based objects can be seen by visitors.

    The second and third floors will both be open to the public tomorrow, September 12th. We can't wait for you to see it yourself, and we look invite you to share your comments via the new Visitor Survey area on the second floor!

    Read more about the Reinstallation project on the Grécourt Gate, news and events for the Smith College community: Gallery Redesign at Smith College Museum of Art Puts Collection in a 'New Light'


  • Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    YOUR art, YOUR vision

    Nan Goldin, American (1953 - ). CZ and Max on the Beach, Truro, Mass, 1976 negative; 1996 print. Cibachrome. Purchased with the Josephine A. Stein, class of 1927, Fund, in honor of the class of 1927. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 2005:41

    It's time again for the Student Picks sweepstakes! Every year, the Smith College Museum of Art invites six Smithies to curate their own individual exhibition, using actual art from the real Museum collection. There's no application - the winners are chosen by lottery, entirely by chance. All you need to do to enter is submit your name into a Student Picks ballot box.

    Barbara Morgan, American (1900 - 1992). Martha Graham, Letter to the World, 1940 negative; 1976 print. Gelatin silver print. Purchased with the gift of the National Endowment for the Arts. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1977:28-19

    Do I have to be an art history major? Nope! In fact, you don't need any experience with art at all -- the Museum staff will help you every step of the way. 

    What art can I use? We will help you chose art from the Museum's collection of over 18,000 works on paper. It's a really diverse group: from Salvador Dali-designed Playing Cards to Japanese-inspired Mary Cassatt prints to probing contemporary photographs such as Cass Bird's I Look Just Like My Mommy. There are endless possibilities and themes to explore.

    Cass Bird. American, born 1974. I Look Just Like My Mommy,2005. C-print. Purchased. Photograph by Petegorsky/Gipe. © 2011 Cass Bird. SC 2011:41-1

    What does a Student Picks show look like? Last year, the Museum hosted a slew of exciting, engaging, very personal Student Picks shows, all organized by Smith students. Amelia Yeoh Jia Min '17 put on Human Connections - Manifestations of the Mundane, her exhibition about the way artists depict the ordinary and the personal. You can read more about her show here, in Amelia's own words.

    Visitors at "Human Connections," curated by Amelia Yeoh Jia Min '17

    For her show Soulful Rebellion, Kenny Clarke '17 showcased graffiti art, and graffiti-inspired art, in the Museum collection. An artist herself, she created spray-painted labels with psychedelic colors for each piece of art. You can read more about her show here, in Kenny's own words.

    Kenny Clarke '17 with her friends at "Soulful Rebellion"

    Feeling inspired? You can enter the sweepstakes yourself! Find ballot boxes in all the libraries on campus (that's Neilson, Hillyer, Young AND Josten) as well as the Campus Center, lower level, and the Museum Lobby! Any Smith student can put her name in as many times as she wants - until the sweepstakes ends on September 15, that is. We'll keep our fingers crossed for you!

    Ballot box in action