Unpacking The Vault: Hidden Narratives in the Bennington Art Collection (VA4137.02)

Anne Thompson

The Bennington art collection is a kind of mystery. Sequestered in a basement space called “the vault,” the collection’s contents—its depth and breadth—are not fully known. On display around campus are some Abstract Expressionist–era paintings by celebrated former students, faculty, and area residents such as Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Feeley, and Jules Olitski. But these works are only part of the story. Working with the instructor as a team, students will be pioneers in the large adventure of examining and researching the overflowing contents of the vault, pulling out paintings, sorting through flat files, unpacking objects, and exploring methods to document our findings. Readings, assignments, discussions, and visits to nearby collecting institutions will consider the responsibility of the curator as a “custodian” and best practices for creating a public archive. Our research will lay groundwork for future exhibitions that link the collection to narratives, themes, and events across Bennington’s history and the liberal arts.

Prerequisites: Students should e-mail short statements of interest, including previous coursework and related experience, to Anne Thompson / annethompsonstudio@gmail.com by May 17, 2017. A list of admitted students will be posted on May 20, 2017.
Credits: 2
T 10:00am - 11:50am; F 10:00am - 11:50am (second seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as Anne Thompson, All courses, Second Seven Week, Two Credit, 4000, Visual Arts (VA), Tuesday and/or Friday Mornings.