VMA students break the rules of the art gallery experience


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Haley Rosendale, Staff Writer

The Space Studio class (ART 295) hosted an opening reception for the student exhibition “Würfel” Thursday, Feb 16. “Würfel” is happening now at the Padnos Student Gallery in the Calder Arts Center. 

“Würfel” is a German word that translates to cube or dice, a common phrase used by artists to describe an art gallery setting. The “Würfel” project is about approaching the white cube with a different perspective from other classmates, highlighting the uniqueness of each students’ ideas.

First-year professor at Grand Valley State University Max Spitzer mentioned his studio spaces class has been working on this project since the beginning of the winter semester.

“‘Space Studio’ puts on different exhibitions in different forms, but this exact exhibition does not occur every year,” Spitzer said.

Every art class at GVSU is different depending on the professor, the unique curriculum and the students in the class. The Studio Spaces class doing the “Würfel” exhibition is an example of the students’ and faculty members’ creativity and a great opportunity to support Grand Valley State University’s students in the arts.

Liv Chow, a senior student in the studio spaces class, said “Würfel” is a project showing how different perspectives can view a space. 

“So our exhibition is commenting on the gallery space itself, and the aspects a gallery space tends to have, and tends not to have,” Chow said. “Each of our projects are commenting on at least one aspect of a gallery space.” 

“Würfel” allows students to express themselves in their own ways. Chow made her project more personal, deciding to play with the viewer experience in a gallery setting.

“My project is commenting on the lack of accessibility in a gallery space, specifically accessibility focusing on developmental and learning disabilities,” Chow said. “As someone who is disabled, I find myself struggling to be respectful of the art gallery space while still being intrigued and fully interested in the work.”

Chow made a solution to this problem by providing 3D printed Infinity cube fidget toys for the guests to play with in the gallery while they observe the other projects.

Caroline Bell, another student in the Space Studio art class, approached the gallery in a tone of advocacy. Bell’s project, titled “What Were You Wearing,”  provides a powerful message about student survivors of sexual assault. Bell’s project shows clothes matching what survivors were wearing when they experienced their trauma. Bell hopes providing that visual will raise awareness of the issue. 

“The audience will gain a better understanding of how sexual assaults do not coincide with the clothes worn during the assault,” Bell said.

Student Cecilia Lopez Nieves’ project is more fun and lighthearted. She designed a large dragon piñata with candy inside. Their project is interactive art, having the audience both looking at and destroying it over the course of the gallery opening.

 The exhibition is open Thursday, Feb. 16, and will close Friday, Feb. 24 in the Padnos Art Gallery in the Calder Arts Center on campus.

Visit the VMA website for more information regarding “Würfel.”