In the CSULB School of Art’s graduate program in Museum and Curatorial Studies, students learn the history of museums and exhibitions, methods of cultural analysis and interpretation, as well as the planning, design and production of art exhibitions. With an emphasis on contemporary art, the program combines a dynamic course of study in art history and theory with hands-on practice of gallery and museum work. The partnership between the University Art Museum and the Museum Studies program allows students to acquire first-hand experience in museum work through specialized courses, directed internships and hands-on exhibition preparation and implementation, including an annual exhibition presented in the museum and curated by each cohort.
This coming spring, Museum and Curatorial Studies presents Consumed, a group exhibition curated by students Brittany Binder, Sinéad Finnerty-Pyne, and Amy Kaeser, in which the implications of mass consumption are explored. By upholding the position that consumerism is one of the major causes of an environmental crisis, the artists’ work simultaneously critiques and acknowledges the compulsive, cooperative relationship that exists between consumerism and society today. Artists China Adams, Jedediah Caesar, Gabriel Kuri, Mary Mattingly, and Camilo Ontiveros recontextualize everyday consumer objects into new forms, activating an awareness of humanity’s contribution to the growing ecological crises.
In her practice, Mary Mattingly makes visible the figural and literal weight of our consumer objects within an eco-crisis narrative, representing mass-produced goods as sentimental yet oppressive. China Adams’ artistic process embodies a commitment to pragmatism and resourcefulness as a means to offset her ongoing personal struggles with consumer culture. Using the detritus that infiltrates her daily life, she creates intricate sculptural works that transcend their materials. Jedediah Caesar reflects on systems of accumulation and dispersal, industry and labor, in an attempt to assert order over the chaos of waste. He creates sculptures of collected refuse embedded in poured resin containers, which are cross-sectioned to expose layers of industrial debris. Addressing cross-border issues between the U.S. and Mexico, Camilo Ontiveros’ work revolves around the value of discarded consumer products from the North, pointing to the transformation of value, as objects travel through formal and informal economies around Southern California and across national borders. Gabriel Kuri commissions Mexican weavers to reproduce an image of a shopping receipt as large-scale tapestry, highlighting the monumentality of consumption in its relation to an exploitative economy.
For more information on the Museum Studies program visit the School of Art website.