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Acuff Chair Ian Berry curates art exhibit with works by students, nationally renowned artists

Earlier this month, a group of 16 Austin Peay State University art students spent a week in New York City, visiting galleries and the private studios of working artists.

It was an irreplaceable experience, but when the semester ends, that trip might rank as the second most exciting event the students participated in this spring. Thats because from April 5-16, APSUs Trahern Gallery will host a special exhibit featuring work by both students and some of the countrys most renowned contemporary artists.
Earlier this month, a group of 16 Austin Peay State University art students spent a week in New York City, visiting galleries and the private studios of working artists.

It was an irreplaceable experience, but when the semester ends, that trip might rank as the second most exciting event the students participated in this spring. That's because from April 5-16, APSU's Trahern Gallery will host a special exhibit featuring work by both students and some of the country's most renowned contemporary artists.

The “I Am. Amen” exhibit opens with a reception at 7 p.m. on April 5 and will include new works by nationally known artists, such as Nayland Blake, Hope Ginsburg, Suzanne Bocanegra, Mircea Cantor, Nina Katchadourian, Sister Corita Kent, Carrie Moyer, Lari Pittman and Hank Willis Thomas.

The students in the show are enrolled in a special topics class this semester at APSU being taught by Ian Berry, an art history professor and curator of Skidmore College's Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Berry holds the post this year of APSU's Acuff Chair of Excellence, and throughout the spring, he has visited Clarksville, bringing several famous artists with him.

“My main field is working with contemporary art and artists, so when I publish books or make exhibitions, it's almost always with living artists,” he said. “It is a complicated mix of being producer and negotiator and friend, and it's a slightly different form of being a curator because the work is not yet made, so we're helping to produce new things.”

Berry now intends to display the works created by both the students and the artists during their semester-long interactions.

“Many times, the project is getting involved with an artist, getting to know an artist over a period of time and then making something new happen, which is part of what we're going to do here at Austin Peay,” he said.

The show will also provide an opportunity for members of the Clarksville community to see new works by artists who normally exhibit pieces in more cosmopolitan areas, such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The APSU students participating in the exhibit are Sophia Anderson, Sarah Andrews, Yvette Campagna, Susan Tomi Cheek, Leslie Collum, Melissa Cox, Colleen Darling, James Gianforti, Melanie Hildebrandt, Courtney Kroupa, Rebecca Lubieski, April Mathews, Sean McFadden, John-Michael Perkins, Nicole Petrik and Del Zartner.

Barry Jones, APSU associate professor of art, and Sharon Laor-Sirak, assistant professor of art, also co-teach the class with Berry. For more information, contact Jones at 221-7330 or jonesb@apsu.edu. -- Charles Booth