Art Rules at Wesleyan

Wesleyan is famous for its open curriculum—for the freedom it gives students rather than the experience of following the rules of having to take one course in a specific field just to say you’ve done it. We do have expectations for students that guide them to some very cool classes—from the Astronomy Department’s always popular classes on the cosmos to the Music Department’s most excellent course on the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe it’s the soft suggestion rather than a hard requirement that enables our students to really find what interests them in an area of the curriculum that they might have missed.

Many people come to Wesleyan intending to study the arts, of course. Our Music, Dance and Film departments have launched students into the forefront of their fields—and I haven’t even mentioned Hamilton and Theater, or the Studio Art Department’s uncanny ability to inspire students to become shapers of adventurous art-making (Cameron Rowland ’11, anyone?).

Spring is an especially great time for the arts at Wesleyan. I went to the senior studio art opening yesterday at Zilkha, and once again the students have produced stunning work. This time of year there are music recitals each week from our inventive graduate students and undergrads presenting their thesis recitals. And this weekend the Theater Department offers Eurydice. Creativity blooms!

The fabulous Davison collection is on display now in a show curated by DAC curator Miya Tokumitsu called “For Effect: Emphatic Bodies from the Renaissance to the Industrial Age.” The show has synergies with the Center for the Humanities theme of hyperbole, presenting “bodies exaggerated in their accouterments, pose, and anatomical proportion from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Across artistic movements and historical contexts, artists exaggerated bodies to evoke from spectators responses as varied as sympathy and shock, offense and desire.”

Jacques Callot (French, 1592 – 1635). The Two Pantaloons (Les Deux Pantalons), 1616. Etching. Second of two states. Friends of the Davison Art Center, Theater Department, and purchase funds, 1971. DAC accession no. 1971.18.1. Open Access Image from the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University. (photo: M. Johnston).

And you can now take work from our Davison collection home with you! No, not stuff from the gallery walls, but you can order museum quality reproductions of our print masterpieces here.

Art rules at Wesleyan!