Behind the curtain of art curation

UM art and art history students tour the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. 
By Amanda M. Perez

UM art and art history students tour the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. 

Behind the curtain of art curation

By Amanda M. Perez
University of Miami students studying art and art history got an exclusive look into New York City’s bustling art industry.

NEW YORK—From the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City is home to some of the most distinguished pieces of art in the world. For several students at the University of Miami’s Department of Art and Art History, there is no other place they would rather spend their spring break.

Seven students currently enrolled in the course named ArtLab @ the Lowe Art Museum were able to make the trip. The interactive class, offered every spring, gives students the opportunity to co-curate an exhibition at the Lowe Art Museum as well as travel to a select location in the world that relates to their exhibit. 

“I love teaching this particular program because it’s not just busy work. It’s a fun hands-on class,” said Nathan Timpano, associate professor and the Head of Art History within the Department of Art and Art History.

This year their exhibit’s theme of Russian Avant Garde took the class to the Big Apple, where students got the chance to visit museums in a way many people have not experienced. 

“This trip is like no other because our students are going to be able to get behind the scenes tours with museum curators at the most well-known museums,” said Timpano. “We’re even getting the chance to visit artists who are inviting us into their studios to talk to our students about what it’s like to be a working artist in New York City.” 

Sarah Ortiz-Monasterio, a senior pursuing a double major in English Literature and Art History, said the trip is an excellent opportunity to get exposed to an industry she wants to be part of after graduation. 

“Hands-on courses like ArtLab are important because they enable us to apply knowledge and skills gained within class toward the real-world,” said Ortiz-Monasterio. 

She said she is already enjoying all that the trip has to offer. 

“My favorite part of the trip so far was visiting the Guggenheim. It was a privilege to learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for the museum,” Ortiz-Monasterio added.

Jill Deupi, director of the Lowe Art Museum, has worked closely with Timpano to help guide these artists in the right direction. 

“We want to make sure that students who graduate with a degree in art history from UM have been exposed and have an understanding that there are a lot of jobs in the art world. We want to continually try and provide them a glimpse of that,” she said. 

Deupi encourages those who are part of the class to use this not only as a learning experience, but as a networking opportunity as well. 

“The goal is to reach back out to collection managers, and who knows,” said Deupi, “maybe that becomes an internship that later becomes a job, so there’s also that very practical aspect to the trip as well.”