Nine art history majors and two art history professors traveled to Los Angeles on March 28-30, 2019 on a whirlwind tour of museums, which included: the Getty Center, the Wende Museum of the Cold War, the Hammer Museum affiliated with UCLA, the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), and The Broad.
The intense trip encompassed art from a broad range of traditions from the ancient Mediterranean to contemporary Chinese art, the mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros, America Tropical at Olvera Street, and a visit with an art history alumna who now works as a museum professional.
For many students, this was the first visit to Los Angeles, and they found the trip inspirational and fully immersive. Tatyana Dunn ‘20 states that, “having never been to LA before, I wasn’t sure what we would get to see, but I can honestly say the trip exceeded my expectations. … The sheer size of the Getty, LACMA, and Broad Museums was astonishing, and it was amazing to get to wander through their diverse exhibits. Overall, I’d have to say that the Getty was my favorite by far, as we not only got to see a number of classic pieces, but also had an amazing lunch and time to roam through the stunning gardens. However, my favorite paintings were the 19th century landscapes by Pissarro in the LACMA. All in all, I am so grateful to have had the chance to go on this field trip, and share it with such a wonderful group of people.”
Sarah Johnson ‘19 describes the trip as a high point of her undergraduate education; she notes the importance of spending time in a learning community and highlights the valuable experience of meeting an alumna who works in the field: “the Art History Department trip to Los Angeles was absolutely a highlight of my undergraduate studies here at the University of Puget Sound. Not only was it fun and engaging, but we also got to spend time with one another in the department and bond over our common interests and not feel burdened by financial costs for the trip. My favorite part of the trip was getting to meet Chloe [Ginnegar ‘17], a former Art History student at UPS, and learn about her position at the Wende Museum and tour their collection. This trip was a privilege, and I am so appreciative of the community and the generosity that we have here within our department.”
Mary Thompson ’19 and Ayse Hunt ’19 both valued the opportunity to explore museums. Mary notes: “it is not often that I get to roam museums with others who enjoy the art in the same way I do;” and Ayse explains that, “as someone who is interested in museum studies, this trip was a fantastic opportunity to experience some of the leading institutions in the country. Going to more than one museum a day provided a chance to compare and contrast the way they each approached educational content and organization.”
Both Mary and Ayse found the discussion in front of a Moreau painting a memorable experience: “… we sat together on the floor of the Hammer in front of Salome Dancing before Herod by Gustave Moreau and discussing the implications of gender, culture, and fantasy until the gallery hosts (kindly!) kicked us out. I was reminded why I love what I study, and of the excitement I have to pursue my career in the field in the coming months,” notes Mary. Ayse explains that, “one of my favorite parts of the trip was when the group gathered around Moreau’s Salome at the Hammer. Professors Williams and Kotsis lead an impromptu mini-lecture and discussion about the work and its portrayal of women. In many of our discussions, we drew on topics that we had covered in previous classes together, and it was so cool to apply that knowledge in the context of the museum, often in front of the works themselves.”
Lenna Soifer ‘19 also describes this field trip as a highlight of her studies at Puget Sound. She explains that, “the combination of the museums and galleries we were able to visit along with the curiosity of my peers and the support of my professors gave me a mini glimpse into my future. … I was completely moved and energized by our final stop at The Broad.
The exhibition we visited featured the work of black artists of modern American history that told a story of passion, resilience, and the universality of art. Having just spent several days analyzing various types of art related spaces, I felt in tune to the intentionality of the curators and had the tools to think critically and creatively about the art that was presented. I feel so lucky to be part of a program which values experiential learning and pushes the students to be engaged with their chosen field beyond the classroom.”