Aesthetics and Values @ FIU
What started in 2006 as an exhibition in the Florida International University Wolfsonian Library has grown into a grand showcase of acclaimed Miami artists that has set a record for attendance at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Art. Beginning April 22 and over the next two months, the Aesthetics and Values exhibition, curated solely by 40 students in the Honors College at FIU, will showcase nine acclaimed Miami artists. There’s one catch: The majority of these students are not art majors.
The brainchild of Honors College professor John William Bailly, Aesthetics and Values is a two-semester course in which students from a variety of disciplines curate an art exhibition. They oversee all facets of the exhibition, from securing sponsors and artists to creating a catalog and planning the opening event. Bailly, who is also a painter who is an artist-in-residence at the Deering Estate in Miami, wanted to get his students to understand contemporary art trends, and this inspired him to start the course. “We’ve been so fortunate from the first year of this seminar until now,” Bailly says. “The artists of Miami have been wonderful in working with students and opening themselves and their studios.”
Biology major Valentina Gamboa got the chance to work with multidisciplinary South Florida photographer Monica McGivern. “As a biology major, I entered this class with a closed-mind of what could be classified as art,” Gamboa said. “Working with Monica and visiting her studio has been delightful and something I never thought I would do, considering that I’m specializing in science.” McGivern will be showcasing her work at the exhibition and regularly documents the art and music culture in South Florida. Her photography has been featured in The Miami Herald, LA Weekly and the Sony World Photography Awards in Cannes. “I am honored to be showing original artwork alongside some of Miami’s most engaging contemporary artists,” McGivern says. “My work speaks to the viewer as it relates to their experience of lack versus need, and their identity in the role of modern societal hierarchy.” In addition to the exhibition of her original visual art, she will also play a set with her psychedelic surf-noir band, Mo’Booty, in which she plays bass guitar.
In the end, Bailly just wants art to become part of his students’ lives. “I want my students to see art not just as an object, but as an active part of the community,” he says.
Opening night for 2017 Aesthetics and Values Exhibition will take place Saturday, April 22 from 4pm-7pm at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, 10975 SW 17th St.
~ Olivia Feldman