“Focus III” is presented by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts. This is the third in a series of AEIVA “Focus” exhibitions that showcase local and regional private art collections. The Southeastern United States represents a rich diversity of fine arts collectors, with each collector providing unique cultural viewpoints and aesthetic sophistication.
Works in the Rebecca and Jack Drake collection range from civil rights photography to German abstract painting.
“One of the most pleasant discoveries I made when I began working as a curator in Birmingham was the vast number of world-class art collections in our own backyard,” said AEIVA Curator John Fields, MFA. “It’s endlessly fascinating for me to explore the individuality of these significant collections. Birmingham’s art collectors are some of the most dedicated and passionate in the country.”
The “Focus III” exhibition is co-curated by a group of College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Art and Art History students and AEIVA interns. This multi-semester project originated in the Art History Senior Capstone course taught in fall 2017 by Leigh Ann Roach. The students oversaw every aspect of the exhibition’s development, from research visits with the collectors and selecting the works, to creating interpretive text panels for the exhibit, layout and finally installation of the exhibition itself. Participating students are Ellen Besh, Cayla Hamilton, Luiza Lage and Tina Ruggieri.
“From visiting the Drakes’ collection for the first time to researching and writing text panels for the chosen pieces, working on the ‘Focus III’ exhibit has been a great opportunity to get hands-on experience in planning and developing a museum exhibition,” Hamilton said.
The Art History Senior Capstone course assesses students’ knowledge of art history and assists them in applying what they have learned. Students explore post-baccalaureate options, prepare professional materials and hone art historical skills through a variety of activities such as conducting research, writing for different audiences, curating exhibitions and presenting research at a symposium. Students in the AEIVA internship course actively participate in the daily operations of a museum, gallery or art space, and acquire direct working knowledge of a cooperating art institution.