The Office of Career Strategy has become the first University office to display artwork by Yale students and graduates, after working with the Office of the General Counsel to establish a process for departments and offices to acquire and permanently exhibit the art.
Although Yale offices have featured student and alumni work in the past, those installations were mostly temporary, according to OCS Director Jeanine Dames. Because of complexities in the laws governing artwork, Dames said, there was no streamlined process in place for Yale departments to acquire and permanently exhibit art by Yale affiliates.
But now, she said, after several years of work, Yale has resolved various complex legal issues involving copyright and ownership rights, as well as insurance matters. Moving forward, any Yale department will be able to use a new contract designed by the Office of the General Counsel as a template when negotiating the acquisition of artwork.
“There is always art going up in different places across campus,” Dames said. “Others have done similar things, but we have created a more maintainable channels. There is a contract in place and a system. You can go to a show and ask for a work. It’s a process now.”
In April, OCS put up seven pieces to be permanently displayed in its hallways at 55 Whitney Ave. Six of them, done by Carly Lovejoy ’16, Dominic Lounds ’15 and Nicholas Wilson ’16, were part of a two-year “Painting Time” exhibition at the Yale College Dean’s Office in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, which featured works by undergraduate students who took the “Painting Time” course with painter and Yale professor Samuel Messer. Another work was produced by Fiona Buchanan, who graduated from Yale’s Norfolk Summer School of Art.
Dames added that OCS hopes to expand the collection by acquiring one or two more pieces a year, potentially including sculptures.
“There is some level of patronage, this concept that … as the Office of Career Strategy we are thinking of these artists, alumni and how we can support them,” said Derek Webster, OCS associate director for the arts. “Even if it is a smaller number of works, the credit and the concept still helps promote them as independent artists.”
Messer said exhibiting the works was an “excellent idea” and that he hopes other University departments will follow suit. He added that both undergraduate and graduate alumni of the Art School “go on to be the leading cultural artists in the world.”
Kate Krier, an assistant dean for the arts who helped organize the transfer of the “Painting Time” works from SSS to 55 Whitney Ave., said the Yale College Arts offices are “thrilled” that OCS is building on the tradition of showcasing and supporting undergraduate artists.
Even though it was hard to part with her pieces, Lovejoy said, she appreciated that Yale offered to buy her works.
While she said it means a lot “for a big institution to purchase student works,” she noted that there is a disconnect between what she felt at the time she painted the pieces and the message they will likely send from the walls of OCS.
“When I painted those pieces, it was my sophomore year, and I was pretty depressed — I was having a hard time passing classes, and I didn’t leave my bed a lot,” Lovejoy said. “I remember painting Harkness Tower — where I lived — like it was underwater. I don’t know if a viewer could guess that looking at the paintings in the context of a Yale office space. The gap is humorous to me.”
The “Painting Time” exhibit at the YCDO ran from 2015 to 2017.
Anastasiia Posnova | firstname.lastname@example.org