BLOOMFIELD, NJ — In an effort to connect art to a student’s overall education to the world at large, the humanities
department at Bloomfield College has reintroduced the subject of art history into its curriculum. Deepening this connection, the school will also open an art exhibit in its Scott. H. Kaplan ’02 Art Gallery beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18. The title of the show is, “Urban Art meets Global Art.”
“We haven’t offered art history for a while,” Angela Conrad, chairwoman of the humanities division, said last week on the quad off Liberty Street. “We were asked by the arts department to pick it up and do it as part of humanities.”
According to Conrad, when taught by the humanities department, course work will not only be for students going into the arts as a profession, but also for the general student who will discover art as a pathway to other aspects of life.
Two artists to be represented in the exhibit were creating their works on the quad at an outdoor art exhibition Nov. 6, while Conrad spoke nearby. One was Brooklyn-based graffiti artist Robert Plater.
“Humanities is about culture,” Conrad said. “We had a hard time without the visual arts. Graffiti is part of a natural expression of the arts.”
Conrad gave as another example of connecting visual art to an understanding of the world, the connection between art and economics.
A course being offered, she said, is mystical art and religions. In the spring, an art course contrasting Renaissance art with Reformation art will be available.
“It’s a brand-new idea,” she said about the proposed curriculum changes. “We want to work with the creative arts technology department. They teach a lot of courses about digital art. We’re picking up the other angle, art history.”
The Nov. 18 art show was organized by Roberto Osti, an art teacher at the college who also works at the New York Academy of Art. He said the new addition to the humanities program would focus on the impact of art on society. The goal of the show, he said, was to eliminate the aura surrounding art and make it more approachable to ordinary people. He also spoke on the quad.
One exhibit there was a wooden assemblage, large enough for a man to enter. It was created by another Brooklyn-based, urban artist, Nicolas Holiber. His work, which will be in the exhibit, was inspired by the Medusa heads found in the Basilica Cistern in Turkey. Holiber calls his work “Vessel Head.” It is made of recycled wood.
Plater’s graffiti showed two faces on opposite sides of a canvas construction. Osti said this represented the question of good and evil of the media.
“What’s good or bad,” he said. “Where do we fit in?”
Plater had not named his work and intended to write song lyrics on the canvas.
According to Osti, the show will have artists from Chile, Nigeria, Argentina, and Peru, to name only a few countries.