Bringing together paintings, photographs, prints, and new media, this conceptually-driven exhibition traces the philosophical and aesthetic debates that examine Western culture’s relationship with visual media. The artworks on view delve into questions of mimesis and indexicality, systems of value and reception, the dynamics of mediation, and the gendered and racialized gaze. In doing so, Smart to the Core: Medium / Image seeks to interrogate the structures that underpin perception and explore the social impact of visual culture.
Smart to the Core: Medium / Image is the second in a series of exhibitions designed by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry to expand object-centered teaching across all fields and disciplines in the University of Chicago’s celebrated College Core, which introduces students to foundational texts that raise fundamental questions about human experience. This project was particularly inspired by, and curated for, the Humanities Division course “Media Aesthetics,” which focuses on “Image” in the fall (followed by “Text” and “Sound” in winter and spring). Throughout the 2021 fall quarter students will interpret the artworks on view in tandem with the theories and texts associated with their course. Overall, this exhibition program showcases the ways in which the Smart Museum engages with and shares the intellectual life of the University with the broader public.