As an academic art museum, the Smart continually engages with and contributes to the intellectual life of the University of Chicago. Through a variety of academic initiatives—not to mention public talks, lectures, and symposia—the Museum facilitates new scholarship and serves as a forum for interdisciplinary study. The Smart Museum also strives to make original experiences with art accessible to the entire campus community, from first-years in the famed Core to medical students honing their observational skills.
Faculty from all University departments and divisions are welcome to use the Smart as a resource in the classroom, either by scheduling a tour of the galleries or by arranging a visit to our study room to see works not on view.
Visits to the study room are flexible, intimate, and particularly enriching. In tandem with our staff and curators, instructors select up to fifteen works from the Smart’s collection that support the themes and goals of the course but are not currently on view in our galleries. The seminar-style room allows students to view the works closely and engage in related discussion while seated around a table.
Please arrange a classroom visit at least two weeks in advance or contact Alice Kain with any questions.
In keeping with the Smart Museum’s commitment to the academic mission of the University, a small space in the Maser gallery is made available, on request, to serve the curricular needs of faculty from any department. The displays often cross disparate geographic and temporal boundaries, juxtaposing works from different traditions.
In the context of this teaching gallery, works from the Museum’s collection can be accessible for study and consultation throughout the academic quarter. Contact Anne Leonard to learn more.
In the early planning stages of all our major exhibitions, the Smart convenes an interdisciplinary, invitation-only faculty workshop to debate the project’s conceptual frameworks, gather feedback, and discuss potential areas of collaboration. As a forum for engagement, these workshops seek to deepen and extend the academic impact of the Smart’s special exhibitions. Contact Anne Leonard to learn more.
Supported by an endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, our academic and curricular initiatives spur new scholarship and strengthen connections between the University of Chicago and the Smart Museum. Established in 1992 and bolstered with a $1.25 million gift (PDF) from the Mellon Foundation in 2010—the single largest foundation gift in the Museum’s history—the Mellon program fosters collaboration between the Museum and faculty, encourages the integration of our exhibitions and collection into the curriculum, and supports the publication of original research.
At its core, the program allows University faculty and students to work in tandem with the Smart’s curatorial team to develop thematic exhibitions based on the Smart Museum’s extensive collection. Related courses or seminars, exhibition catalogues, and public programs are an integral part of the Mellon program as well.
The Smart welcomes the opportunity to work with University of Chicago faculty from all disciplines. For more information or to discuss an idea for a Mellon exhibition, please contact Anne Leonard.
Through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Smart now offers grants to University of Chicago faculty who wish to integrate the Smart Museum’s collection or exhibitions into their own research or teaching. A listing of recent grants is below.
These Mellon grants are open to University faculty from all disciplines and can be requested in any amount, though most will fall in the $500–$1,500 range. Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis each year until funds are exhausted. Initiatives will vary in nature, but should make use of the Smart’s collections or exhibitions to enhance the academic life of the University. Proposals might include, but are not limited to:
Proposals will be reviewed by Smart Museum staff and evaluated as to feasibility, relevance to the Smart's collection and exhibitions, and likelihood of completion.
Literary Objects: Flaubert
with Philippe Desan
Weimar Bodies: Fantasies About the Body in Weimar Art, Science, and Medicine
with Sander Gilman
The Place of the Antique in Early Modern Europe
with Ingrid Rowland
The Theatrical Baroque
with Larry Norman
A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costumes in European Art, 1500–1850
with Elissa Weaver
Confronting Identities in German Art: Myths, Reactions, Reflections
with Reinhold Heller
The Painted Text: Picturing Narrative in European Art
with Frederick de Armas
Paper Museums: The Reproductive Print in Europe, 1500–1800
with Rebecca Zorach
One/Many: Western American Survey Photographs by Bell and O'Sullivan
with Joel Snyder
GRAPHIKÉ: Writing/Drawing in the Ancient World
with Glenn Most and Richard Neer
Looking and Listening in Nineteenth-Century France
with Martha Ward
The “Writing” of Modern Life: The Etching Revival in France, Britain, and the U.S., 1850–1940
with Elizabeth Helsinger
The Tragic Muse: Art and Emotion, 1700–1900
with Sarah Nooter and Thomas Pavel
After the Readymade
with Christine Mehring
Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints
with Chelsea Foxwell
Sidney Nagel, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in Physics: travel expenses to join Anne Leonard on a panel of the College Art Association annual conference in New York, with the presentation Art and Science in Dialogue: Object-Based Workshops at the Smart Museum. ($500)
Chelsea Foxwell, Assistant Professor in Art History: research assistance to support curatorial work on Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints, an exhibition being organized at the Smart Museum for fall 2012.
Megan Luke, Harper-Schmidt postdoctoral fellow: research to orient the Art 101 course (Introduction to Art) toward a Smart Museum collections focus, to increase students’ engagemnt with original works of art. Research was conducted by graduate student Maggie Taft under Dr. Luke’s guidance, with input from course assistant Victoria Salinger. The results are available to all new Art 101 instructors. ($1,200)
Judith Zeitlin, Professor in Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations: research travel for Performing Images: Opera in Chinese Visual Culture. Professor Zeitlin and her co-curator, graduate student Yuhang Li, visited museums in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Hawaii, Boston, and Kansas City, to consider objects for inclusion in the Chinese opera exhibition slated to open at the Smart Museum in 2014. ($5,600)
Christing Mehring, Associate Professor in Art History, on behalf of the Object Cultures Workshop and 3CT (the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory): co-sponsorship of the Lives of Things conference, held in April 2011 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Arjun Appadurai’s edited volume The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. ($500)
Christing Mehring, Associate Professor in Art History: research to integrate a program of object-based museum visits into the 20th-century art survey course. With research assistant Emily Capper, Professor Mehring mined the collection for objects that elucidate important figures and currents in 20th-century art. Now, all section meetings for this course are held at the Smart Museum. ($840)
Meet friends, get creative
Get creative, hang out, and escape the grind with free art-looking and art-making activities for UChicago students on Thursday nights at the Smart.
Study at the Smart
Once a quarter during reading period, the Smart's galleries are transformed into a late-night study hall open to UChicago students.