Local curator talks art at Visual Arts Center

The Marshall University Visual Arts Center Gallery had a guest speaker who explained what it was like to be a curator and juror at art galleries.

Arif Kahn, curator of art at the Clay Center in Charleston, West Virginia, spoke to an audience of more than 25 people who consisted of mostly Marshall students.

In Kahn’s presentation, he discussed how he picked pieces for the Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition at the Visual Arts Center Gallery.

“I try to remember that generally art looks better in person than the digital image so I always keep that in mind,” Kahn said. “Things like whites, grays and metals are really hard to photograph, so I need to keep those in mind.”

Sometimes when looking at a piece of art through a digital image, it can be hard to see the size of the piece. Kahn said it is important to know what will fit in the gallery. 

Kahn said he tried to be objective when picking pieces for the art show. He needs to make sure they can fit into the gallery in which they are being placed.

“I did not ask for names or where they were from when I was going through everything, and as I was going through,” Kahn said. “I do not often see the artists until after the show.”

Kahn said it is important to pick pieces of different mediums to represent the theme of a gallery.

Khan explained that he thinks it is better when one juror does an exhibition because different jurors have different tastes in what they want.

Sammy Taylor, graphic design major, said she found something interesting about the jurors.

“It was interesting that there’s only one juror per exhibition, and they have to do their best to be objective,” Taylor said.

Marshall student Jordan Leishear said not all of the students who attended the talk were interested in becoming a juror.

“I don’t think it is something I would want to do later in life,” Leishear said. “I’m more into being able appreciate it as a spectator as opposed to being in charge of all those major decisions.”

Matthew Prandoni can be contacted at [email protected].