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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MU Art Lounge showcases student abuse

Starting with a reception yesterday, the Art History 401 Curatorial Principles class taught by Professor Susette Min began curating an exhibit held in the Memorial Union (MU) Art Lounge.

The exhibit itself is about a timely and controversial topic and is part of a collaboration process involving 16 undergraduate students. Regarding recent events detailing student protests and police response to such protests, the class hopes to raise awareness about issues of privatization and over-reaction by campus police.

The exhibit has been in the planning stages since January and was decided by vote in the class.

“We wanted to do something that could relate to people, and we had the intention of creating an exhibit that could provoke some kind of thought,” said senior environmental policy analysis and planning major Jennifer Urrutia.

The exhibit consists of large photographs of three events, detailing police presence and response to student protests at UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and UC Davis. There are texts corresponding to each photograph display that provide information and context for the event as well as provide the reports regarding decisions after the event. There is also a large photograph display showcasing the typical arsenal used by campus police at such protests as well as text that explains the use and effects on the body such weapons can induce.

“The MU Art Lounge is a commonly used student space, so what we’re trying to do is to just present the information in a concise and straightforward way and to raise questions,” said senior art history major Megan Friel. “We’re giving students the images and the information to be able to ask those questions for themselves.”

Despite dealing and presenting a heavy subject matter, especially one that stirs up many opinions and emotions, the class and Min want to make clear that the exhibit itself is not a protest, nor is it associated with the Occupy movement on campus. The display is simply meant to be as informative as possible without shoving opinions in the faces of students.

“We really want to make sure people who come to the show understand what’s happening in the images,” said Mazie Enck, a junior art history major. “It would be too easy to look at these images without text and come up with a biased conclusion. With the texts, we’re trying to give both sides of the story. We focused on the reports that came later and then the facts. We’re hoping to present a non-partisan view on these events.”

“The idea is for the students to experience curating a show and to offer something the UC Davis community. We have a show that makes them think, raise questions, and engage in dialogue,” said Min. “They’ve all been really good about working on this even though for some, this might have not been their first choice. They’re great; they work together really well. I’ve taught this class about five times; this class has been great especially for the number of people working on the same exhibition. They are a good group of students.”

Recent events have caused the project problems with the Reynoso Task Force Report. The report that was to be part of the exhibit itself is likely to included in the display if released sometime in the next two weeks. The exhibit will run at the MU Art Lounge until March 23.

RUDY SANCHEZ can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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