Museum as Classroom

April 9–June 13, 2021

How can engaging with an artwork open new ways of thinking? And, what can be experienced in-person that might not manifest virtually?

By making connections between the Smart Museum’s collections and the arguments, questions, and themes of courses across disciplines, the Museum’s Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry actively engages with and contributes to the intellectual life of the University of Chicago. The divergent array of objects in this expanded presentation was curated by faculty in collaboration with the Feitler Center and connects to five separate spring courses: “The Idea of Africa,” “Woodblock Prints of Japan,” “Introduction to Printmaking,” “Queer Theory and Queer Practice,” and an advanced painting course called “Through the Looking Glass.” 

The works on view include a number of newer acquisitions in conversation with longstanding favorites, all from the Smart Museum’s permanent collection. While many classes are currently taught virtually, this space offers students living locally an opportunity to study artworks in person and provides a glimpse of University teaching for all our visitors.

Delve deeper
Download the interpretation packet (PDF) for a full checklist and copy of exhibition texts.

Top: Shunkōsai Hokushū, Actors Nakamura Utaemon III (Shikan) as Shunkan and Nakamura Matsue III as Oyasu, 1825, Woodblock print. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, The Brooks McCormick Jr. Collection of Japanese Prints, 2015.794.

Above: Gladys Nilsson, Their Class, 1993, Etching. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of the artist in memory of Whitney Halstead, 1995.58b.