Noah Isherwood, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor
On Jan. 13, the Moon Gallery debuted a new art exhibit called “Calamity,” with art pieces that all share the common theme of the Holocaust. According to Brad Adams, associate professor of art and director of Moon Gallery, the diverse pieces were submitted by artists from all over the country.
“It was a pretty open call; I have some size restrictions that I mention because I cannot sustain certain things,” Adams said.
The pieces are a mixture of various mediums, running the gamut from glass sculpture to watercolors, and they range greatly in size. The one commonality they share is their subject matter.
Adams said the subject came about as a natural result of his personal research into the subject and current social conditions. After talking to several other faculty members, Adams settled on a plan to set up a juried exhibition to best explore the idea of art taking the Holocaust as its subject. Adams said that the interdisciplinary nature of both faculty and students at Berry influenced this project.
“Berry students are interested in a number of things,” Adams said.
Knowing this, Adams had to choose a juror that shared this interdisciplinary bent to best create a balanced exhibit. After some searching, he selected Catherine Lewis, executive director of the Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University, as juror for the exhibit. While she is actually a historian by training, Adams said she was a great fit.
“Her background is not necessarily in art but she had done a lot of art exhibits nationally,” Adams said.
There were many submissions from across the nation, and deciding which ones to ultimately exhibit was challenging as Lewis was impressed by most of the work.
“I think Dr. Lewis was really pleased with the overall quality of the work,” Adams said.
Throughout the process of choosing the pieces to be exhibited, Adams and Lewis were in constant communication, jointly deciding the details of the exhibit. Shortly before winter break ended they finalized the layout of the show.
“She and I laid out the exhibit and then I installed the show,” Adams said.
Now that the exhibit is open, Adams hopes that it will spark thought and discussion about the Holocaust among the students who view it. He does not however mean for the exhibit to be a specific call to action.
“I’m not sure that’s the role of art necessarily, but I think some art can raise awareness,” Adams said.
Raising awareness is what this project is all about for Adams. He wants it to cause viewers to ask themselves questions about the art and how it impacts or communicates about their world.
“The fact of the Holocaust hasn’t changed so much how we treat one another, but what is that legacy of the Holocaust, and how is that processed, how is that filtered through the lens of an artist,” Adams said.
For Adams, the exhibit is not meant to be a structured lesson, rather a prompt to deeper personal thought.
“That seems to be the role of things: rather than trying to be prescriptive or pedantic about something I’m saying, ‘Here’s something that I think is significant to think about,’” Adams said.
The exhibit will be open to the public until Feb. 13, with a juror’s talk on Jan. 27. Notably, this year will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz- Birkenau, the infamous Nazi death camp. The date will be commemorated through art, a bittersweet reminder of what depravity man is capable of, and hopefully a call to something higher.