The Nora Eccles Harrison Art Museum The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art
The cultural critic Tony Bennett has said that museums do not arrange objects so much as they arrange the relationships between things and the people that come to view those things.
We talked around this idea during our week on “The Meaning of the Museum” and you should bring those discussions with you as part of your approach to the following directed study. Considering Bennett’s assertion, this worksheet is designed for you to think critically and objectively about what a museum actually is and what it actually does. In this case, the
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art Case Study
We are extremely fortunate to have an institution of the quality of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art on the USU campus. We are equally fortunate to have a staff of such high quality and expertise to run it. You should take advantage of their expertise and experience not only for the purposes of this exercise but throughout your time at USU.
Museums – and art museums are no exception – are in many the ways the cornerstones of culture: they determine knowledge; they identify what is appropriate and legitimate for archiving; they function as repositories for history. But it is important to keep in mind that these are not random or neutral processes.
There are always ideological (as well as spatial, financial, historical, cultural etc.) implications in deciding what should save, archived, protected, and
exhibited. In this sense, we are revealed by both the things we save and the things we throw away. Museums do not only reflect, but also define who we are.
The worksheet is designed to help you achieve the learning objectives for the course by allowing you to identify different styles and periods as you analyze
and critically evaluate the exhibitions and work that is held by the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. As you respond to the questions and issues raised
to try and keep in mind the ways in which visual art is always the creative expression of a living dynamic culture.
The Nora Eccles Harrison Art Museum Answer Response Questions
Please answer/respond to all of the following questions and issues:
1. How are we directed around and through the space of the museum? How does the available space determine how and what we might see?
2. There is a great diversity of objects – painting, sculpture, ceramics etc. – on display in the museum. How and why has this diverse collection been
arranged in the way that it has?
3. Have a look at the ceramics cabinets 1 through 4 (on the 2nd floor.) What are the organizing principles of each cabinet? What common elements do the
objects within each cabinet share and why have they been arranged in that way?
4. Objects and items from the museum’s permanent collection are displayed in the gallery areas on the lower first floor. Identify three pieces of art each of
which is an example of a distinct genre or style. For each painting/object explain what the genre/style is and why the piece fulfills the generic criteria.
5. Consider the “organizing principles” of the Lux exhibit (on the upper floor.) In other words, why has the museum put on this exhibition and what do you
think they want us to “get” from it?
6. What was the Light and Space movement of the 1970s?
7. How are we meant to experience the pieces on display in the Lux exhibit? Are we supposed to interpret them? Do the artists even intend for us to find a “meaning” in them? If not, what are we meant to take away from the show?