Graduate art students showcase their prowess

Isabella Bruni, Chief Copy Editor

Graduate students of St. John’s newest master’s program, the Museum Administration Program, are showing off their skill in the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery exhibition, “Selected Photographs From St. John’s University Library’s Special Collections.”

The exhibition showcases the works of four internationally recognized photographers, Manuel Àlvarez Bravo, Elliott Erwitt, Ralph Gibson and Garry Winogrand, along with mini-monographic exhibitions focused on works of a single photographer curated by six students.

The students involved in this project include Laura Brownlie, Kristen Dorata, Michal Erdogan, Justine McEnerney, Suzanne Nelson and Jonquil Schaller-Harris.

Encompassing examples of documentary photography, street photography, commercial photojournalism and fine art photography, the exhibition exemplifies the hard work of these six students and shows off their great understanding of the technique used in their field.

Dorata, who graduated with a BFA in Photography from St. John’s, believes the exhibition “…provides a unique opportunity for students from other areas of study to admire what other members of the same community are accomplishing.”

“We are fortunate to have pristine examples of gelatin silver prints by internationally recognized documentary and fine art photographers available at our fingerprints for study and use,” she added.

Graduate assistant Dylan Hammond, who was responsible for many of the intricacies involving the exhibition, said, “I think students should go see the show because it is a beautiful example of black and white photography from four fantastic artists. This show also gives visitors a look into the types of things the St. John’s University Special Collection holds and a first hand look at the possibilities in the SJU M.A. in Museum  Administration program.”

Dr. Susan Rosenberg, Director of the M.A. Museum Administration program, told The Torch that she is extremely proud of the high level of professionalism demonstrated by her students in bringing this exhibition to fruition.

“The show’s success is a tribute to their creativity, perseverance and dedication to collaborating on every aspect of the project – from the writing of the exhibition press release to the development of tools of exhibition assessment. I have no doubt that this experience has afforded them expertise necessary to succeed as they embark on their careers, pursuing jobs in a wide variety of museum positions,” Rosenberg said.

According to Yulia Tikhonova, director the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery, in three months these students will take junior positions in major galleries and museums in New York City as exhibition coordinators and archivists. “They are ready to enter the exciting professional world of New York City’s high culture,” she added.

Tikhonova also told the Torch that these photos came as a surprise to her and the photography department. “The intimacy and reality of these photographs are very impressive. The high regard these photographers enjoy allows us to claim a place among the leading universities in Queens,” she said.

The six student curators will share their experiences in creating this exhibition in a roundtable discussion on April 4 at common hour in the art gallery. The exhibition will be open until May 3.