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Artist Unknown: Selections from the University Art Collection

February 1 – February 20, 2022

Rose Netzorg and James Wilfrid Kerr Gallery

Organized by Indra K. Lācis, PhD
Director of Exhibitions

How does authorship establish value and visibility for works of art, and how does it work to create the cult of individuality? Conversely, what happens when objects lack proper attribution, and how does the absence of specific authorship impact how works of art are appraised or approached? These questions guide the impetus behind Artist Unknown, an exhibition featuring selections from the Gwen Frostic School of Art’s treasured print collection. Intent on appreciating works of art despite not knowing who created them, this exhibition opens up opportunities for close object study with the goal of creating more complete registration records.

With nearly thirty prints spanning a range of processes—screenprinting, intaglio, lithography, linocuts, photography—this exhibition showcases diverse stylistic and conceptual approaches to image making. From classic abstractions to medical illustrations, portraits and landscapes, Artist Unknown underscores the idea that works of art can exist independently from the artists who created the work. Investigating our deeply held beliefs about the intersection of art and authorship within an institutional setting, Artist Unknown lays bare problems and potential solutions for works of art by artists whose names we do not know.