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Conflict: Issues and Perspectives

Conflict: Issues and Perspectives
March 17-August 1, 1997
Works of art have multiple meanings and each viewer has their own perception based on their particular experiences and knowledge. People often have differing perceptions of conflict, as well, based on their age, ethnicity, race, class, and type of education. For this exhibition, works from the Art Gallery’s permanent collection were selected by the curator that depicted some sort of conflict (interpersonal, social, economic). Students, faculty, staff, and community members were then invited to participate in the interpretation of the images/conflict represented.
This exhibition was both experimental and educational in terms of its interpretation. Nearly fifty works from the Art Gallery’s permanent collection were chosen by the curator, and student interns, which depicted some type of conflict (interpersonal, social, economic). Among the works displayed were Miriam Schapiro’s Twinning of Adam and Eve, Maurizio Lasansky’s engraving, Sol Y Luna, William Blake’s illustration for The Book of Job, “The Vision of Eliphaz,” Robbie Tillotson’s Mates/Masks, and James C. McMillan’s Windsor Composite.
Traditionally, it is the exhibition curator who writes all the interpretive labels that accompany works of art on display. However, because people often have differing perceptions of conflict based on their age, ethnicity, race, class, and type of education, “guest interpreters” were invited to select a work of art in the exhibition, and were asked to consider the following questions in their response to a work of art:

  • “What is the conflict in this work of art, as you see it?”
  • “How has the artist conveyed a sense of conflict?” (i.e. through brushstrokes, body language, use of color?)
  • “What do you think was the artist¹s intended message or meaning?”

Students, faculty, and staff, along with members of the greater Greensboro community participated, and their responses were printed and included in the exhibition. A dialogue ensued between interpreters who disagreed on the meaning of some of the works.