The Rockwell Museum presents the TEEN TAKE on four works of art in the Museum collection created by the newly formed Rockwell Teen Council which is made of about a dozen local high school teens. This project reveals new youthful and diverse personal perspectives to complement the curatorial labels in the Museum galleries. Intended to make you think twice about cultural values, societal structures, sports, fashion, friendship, women’s roles, self-expression and identity portrayed in the art, the teen labels encourage personal reflection connected to our every-day lives and provide an alternative way to interpret the art.
In light of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the 2020 TEEN TAKE is presented digitally. The labels will be printed and installed in the third-floor Museum galleries when restrictions are lifted and the museum is open to the public, and will remain view through the end of 2020. Click on each artwork image to see it larger in eMuseum.
The woman in this bold portrait radiates confidence and pride. Her use of eye contact with the observer causes them to question their own self-image and confidence. It is impossible to look at her powerful image and not want to have that same comfort with your own identity. Instead of hiding, she puts herself and her cultural background on full display. The portrait is filled with eye-catching features such as prominent jewelry and quetzal flowers that seem to be blooming from the woman’s braided hair. This woman shows self-assurance in her heritage through her colorful style; how do you express your personality and culture through your clothing?
Loelia Martin | Mary Parker | Haley Welch
By omitting the opposing side of the tennis match in the foreground, George Bellows strives to create a microcosm of society. Under stage-like lighting, the variations in tone and focus in the background create a sense of disconnection and disillusionment that highlight the social classes in the audience. There’s no physical separation between the players and their audience; their heads and bodies blend into the crowd. Choosing to assimilate the players with the background deemphasizes their importance, shifting the focus to the spectators. The monochromatic black and white palette makes it more challenging to distinguish the muted figures in the background. However, in the forefront certain figures are dramatically highlighted with sharp contrast, such as the woman with the umbrella.
The emphasis on the crowd suggests that society views sports as a chance to display wealth rather than enjoying the actual event. While the scene depicted is one of the past, the same phenomena occurs throughout generations. The scene relates to images we frequently see in modern society of celebrities sitting courtside. We also know that box seats far away from the game are also highly valued; demonstrating a further dissociation from the game itself.
Cyrus Walker | Lewis Wightman | Selim Emir Can | Lydia Robinson
Schreyvogel shows companionship between the two figures, a man and his horse. Their healthy bond with one another is important in order to succeed in the long journey of life. Sharing the hat full of water displays selflessness and putting others before yourself, and emphasizes how it is important for us to take time to appreciate the favors, support and loyalty others provide. The protection towards each other is symbolized by the loaded gun upon the horse’s back. The gun is visibly pointed down, showing that there is no animosity between them, but rather carried for protection against others who present a threat along their journey. But the real question is, who would you share your last drop with? Dylan Almy | Luisa Dainese | Paige Hardee
In analyzing the scene about the woman tanning the hide, her expression makes it seem like she is waiting for someone. Is she watching over the baby? Where does she want to be? A woman’s job included daily chores of maintaining the home, tanning hides and caring for children with very little leisure time. Imagine if she had the day off.
The picture seems to only have women, including the people in the background; in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture, men would traditionally have been responsible for hunting and may have been out tracking animals for the day. In the background, three women appear to be relaxing and one person is smoking a pipe. It was socially acceptable for women to smoke pipes on occasion. To keep the baby safe, perhaps the women are smoking the pipe away from the baby. How do you spend your free time when you have a day off?
Aarushi Bharadwaj | Gargie Deore
In a traditional museum environment, visitors tend to cruise by or skim labels when viewing art in galleries. The TEEN TAKE is an effort to capture visitors’ attention with a fresh point of view and provides authority to teen voices in gallery spaces. The teen council hopes to also encourage visitors to read the curatorial labels to learn more about the art they are engaging with and drive a more meaningful and deeper experience. Perhaps it will provide a supplemental unexpected interpretive twist. Either way, the TEEN TAKE ultimately elevates and illuminates local youth voices about art in The Rockwell collection.
Each label was created by Rockwell Teen Council members in small groups and involved collaboration with both Education and Curatorial staff. The process provided teen members with professional career development opportunities to learn what happens behind-the-scenes and the enormous amount of research, work and effort that goes into displaying works of art in museums for the public to experience and enjoy.
For example, teens were surprised to learn that at The Rockwell, we try not to write a label longer than 200 words. How do you write and say everything with limited word space? What’s most important to emphasize? How do you make sure people look at the art? It was stipulated that everything included on the label text must reference the art and what you see. Calling out specific details in the art and using clear and concise language that is detail-orientated with descriptive adjectives strengthens the interpretation. Just like with curatorial object labels, the TEEN TAKE final versions were produced through multiple rounds of editing and revisions.
The Teen Council empowers teens as agents of change and fosters creativity through inclusive after-school program sessions that invites new ideas and challenges what we know and think about the museum and its collection. This video was created by Rockwell Teen Council member, Cyrus Walker.
If you are interested in joining the council for the 2020-2021 school year, please contact Amy Ruza at email@example.com or look for updates and application information that will be posted by the end of summer. Please note that the Rockwell Teen Council will only be implemented next fall if social distancing restrictions allow and will follow all recommended safety precautions.