Brooklyn, NY—The Brooklyn College library has announced the winners of its second annual Art Award contest, a competition in which students were invited to interpret, in any medium, pieces from the library’s fine art collection.
For the undergraduate submissions there was a split decision, with the award going to Theresa Dietrich and Dan Asselin, both of whom wrote poems that interpreted paintings. Dietrich’s Expressions and Phrases was written in response to Lennart Anderson’s President Vernon Lattin and Asselin’s poem, Two Windows, was an interpretation of Harold Baumbach’s painting Aspen. The graduate winner was Roderic Williams, who wrote a musical response to Shahzia Sikander’s Embark-Disembark I-VI.
“I thought the idea for the contest was really cool,” said Dietrich, a freshman journalism major. “I’ve actually been inspired by a painting to write poetry before. I like the thought of art inspired by art.”
Some ninety-one students submitted works that included paintings, sculptures, music, photography, film and writing. The winners were announced at a dessert reception in the library. Each received a prize of $500, with Dietrich and Asselin splitting their award. The prize money was provided by art aficionados Maria and Archie Rand, the husband and wife team who curate the gallery and teach in the art program respectively.
“This is the first time I’ve seen all of the submissions all collected and I am knocked out,” Archie Rand said at the reception. “I am very impressed by the creative energy and the intelligence of the Brooklyn College student body.”
Miriam Deutch, a professor and art specialist in the library, came up with the idea for the contest after the library’s art collection grew formidably just before the building’s renovation was complete in 2002, thanks to a city law that mandates that a portion of construction budgets be used to purchase art for public spaces.
“The library started the art award to encourage students to explore, discover and find inspiration in our internationally recognized art collection and to showcase our new online art catalogue,” she said. “There were so many creative, inventive responses. The judges had a very difficult time deciding on a winner.”
The honorable mentions included students Keamisha Johnson, whose sculpture was in response to Chakaia Booker’s Echoing Factors; Adele Lonas, who assembled a marionette in response to Marc Mellon’s Don Quixote; Laurence Moulin, who did a painting in response to Doug Schwab’s Sarah; Joseph Pacilio, who wrote a musical response to Jim Lee’s River’s Edge; Christina Squitieri, who wrote a poem in response to John Walker’s Clammer’s Marks, North Branch; Moira Tuohy, who did an ink drawing in response to Wiliam Kentridge’s Typewriter; and Yun Wei, who wrote a poem in response to Sarah Sze’s Day.
The judges included Joesph Entin, an associate professor of English, David Grubbs, an assistant professor in the Conservatory of Music, Jennifer McCoy, an art professor and Deutch.