Thanks to the Fine Arts Department, when the first cohorts of middle school students came to campus this week and passed through the main (Brauer) building, they were surrounded by art. Jessica Hunt, acting gallery director, led the installation of work in the Bonsack Gallery and the first floor hallway. The work includes Damon Davis' images celebrating protests and the 21st century Civil Rights movement; Shepard Fairey's bright, graphic posters; and work by Intensive Art Studies students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
Last spring, Intensive Art Studies students did not close out the year in the traditional way with an exhibit of their work in the Bonsack Gallery. (Instead, they presented virtual portfolios of their work during assembly, which you can see here). But their self-portraits, now hanging between the Business and Advancement offices, use symbols and materials to capture not just the students' appearances, but something about their personality and inner life.
Here are works by Claire Pan '20 and Zoe Scully '21:
And here is work from William Hylen '20, Amy Phillips '20 and Gabby Randall '20.
In the ON LOAN space, across from the Business Office, are four prints from the collection of Ted L. and Marianne Simmons (the Simmons are JBS past parents), by St. Louis artist/musician/filmmaker Damon Davis, co-director of the critically acclaimed documentary Whose Streets? and founder of the FARFETCHED musical collective. Part of his "All Hands on Deck" series, they were created as a public art installation in 2014 during the Ferguson uprising. These large prints were wheatpasted on the plywood board-ups of businesses who lost their plate-glass windows during the protests, symbolizing both the "hands up" gesture used by protestors as well as collective action against racism.
The work in the Bonsack Gallery, also courtesy of the Collection of Ted L. and Marianne Simmons, includes several pieces by Shepard Fairey, who is best-known as the designer of Barack Obama's iconic HOPE campaign poster, along with one work each by graphic artists Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogi. Fairey, who attended the Rhode Island School of Design, is an American activist, street artist and skateboarder. His first claim to fame was a sticker featuring the word OBEY alongside the face of Andre the Giant (which, for a period of time, seemed to be stuck on every lamppost, newspaper box and bus bench in America). The posters in the Bonsack are responses to racial and social injustice, gender inequality and voting rights, and, like Davis' work, celebrate political engagement.