Interactive Art in the Lehman

Visiting artist Pippin Frisbie-Calder gave students in the "Environmental Artivism" Winter Term class more than one new way to experience art.

The students got to see behind the scenes what it takes to create an exhibition by helping the printmaker hang her "Canceled Edition: Ivory-Billed Woodpecker" exhibit, featuring hundreds of prints of woodpeckers perched on the walls of The Robert Lehman Art Center gallery. And they transformed from passive viewers into active participants by joining in at the exhibit opening, removing birds from the wall and taking them home to simulate the species extinction in nature.

"It was different, like something I'd never seen before and the whole idea that it simulates extinction is really cool," said Grant Moore '24, a student in the winter term class that got to meet and work with Frisbie-Calder prior to the exhibit opening.

Learn more about Brooks School's annual Winter Term program

Seeing her art firsthand and trying the techniques himself in class gave Moore an appreciation for the artist's talent, he added: "Her work is really detailed. ...I can't even come close to that, what she did."

Learn more about the exhibit and upcoming events in The Robert Lehman Art Center

The installation of Frisbie-Calder's work also had him in awe. "It took us hours to just put it all up," he said. "And to have her make all those prints of hundreds and hundreds of birds ... that must have taken forever. So, I have a lot of respect for the artist and the time it must have taken."

See an album of photos from the Environmental Artivism Winter Term class

Incorporating the exhibit into their winter term work throughout the three-week intensive program has given Brooks' artists-in-training lots of inspiration.

The class has been researching species using the Massachusetts Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species List to identify, sketch, design and create their own site-specific installation. Nature walks, journaling and sketching also help the class continue to focus on the environment around them so they can draw upon it as they create their own prints.

Eva Karoly '25 said she found the exhibit and Frisbie-Calder's work "really interesting" because "it shows what's happening in our society in an accurate way, to have all the birds start out on the wall and then slowly, one-by-one go away."

The interactivity of "Canceled Edition" sparked Karoly's attention from the start. "Because I was able to do something instead of just standing there and looking at something, it made me think about not only the meaning behind the exhibit but really examine the artwork and what it was about."

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