Museum Visit: Eugene Speicher’s collection

Our class trip to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on campus really clarified the idea of what curation truly meant to me. Prior to this class, I merely thought of curating as simply a process of collecting. However, I didn’t truly examine what went into creating these collections. While at the Dorsky, I immediately began to recognize the specific curatorial decisions made in each one of the present exhibits.

The exhibit “Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher,” curated by Valerie Ann Leeds, was at first glance fairly boring to me. This collection consisted primarily of portraiture and landscape paintings. When I further examined the content of the collection, I noticed how Leeds specifically set up the exhibit in an interesting and unique way. For example, in her first row of portraits, she alternates between those who are facing left and those who are facing right. Although I am not sure why exactly she would select to make this decision, I am guessing it has something to do with this being the most aesthetically pleasing option. Leeds also chose to group all the landscape paintings together and keep the portraiture separate, which seems logical to me. The curator typically doesn’t want to distract and confuse the viewer, therefore it makes sense to group together similar projects.


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