Art Installation

Students' work graces the storefront window of Newbury Street Anthropologie.

With the clock ticking away, students enrolled in the Winter Term course From Idea to Installation with Anthropologie worked feverishly to complete their exhibit in the Robert Lehman Art Center.

The students worked with two designers from the retailer Anthropologie, Ashley McDonnell and Alex Quintana, in developing and executing their own installation in the school’s gallery space. But they also helped create the current display in the retailer’s Newbury Street window, working with shape, color and texture while creating a series of reptilian scales.

“It was cool to work on their display,” Shannon Alvino ’14 said. “They had an idea to make a thousand scales out of paper, paint and plastic bags. So they showed us how to do it and we set up an assembly line to make them.”

The course, From Idea to Installation, was taught by Amy Graham and Heather Lazar.

Anthropologie’s corporate headquarters routinely passes along concepts for window displays to all its retail centers. But each store’s display coordinator, like Quintana, is permitted to present that idea as they see fit because of differing storefront layouts.

“We get to use our creativity to push the limits of that particular store,” Quintana said of the artistic displays.

Both Quintana and McDonnell also spent time hashing out details of the students’ installation. McDonnell explained her own artistic process — how she looks for inspiration in museums and everyday life before sketching — while Quintana encouraged students to experiment with materials.

“It’s all about material manipulation and pushing the limits of what those materials can do: They can distort the materials, change their shape, hang them, put them into groups,” Quintana said.

The focus of the student installation centers on the theme of tapestry as a metaphor for life journeys. Students made numerous multi-media pieces that come together through a unified color palette of natural creams and earthy reds.

“We all start at Brooks, all in the same place using the same materials, but we use them differently and go on our own journey,” Rachel Feingold ’14 said. “We’re using the same objects throughout the show but in different ways, [like bricks]. … It sounds weird to say, but everyone can relate to a brick; it’s an everyday object. They all look different but they’re the same, they serve the same purpose.”

The students wove together their individual pieces in the installation for a collaborative experience. For example, Vicky Kim ’13 hung a series of white waves in the gallery’s alcove, next to two decorated tree branches made by Quintana, Shannon and Rachel.

“I like how the light in the alcove affects the clean white color of my piece. And I think there’s a good balance between the white and the natural element of the branches,” said Vicky, who noted about the exhibit, “All the work that we did was individual, but it’s balanced. It’s one work that has a lot of voices.”

Want To Check It Out?

If you find yourself in Beantown sometime soon, check out the Brooks students work! The Anthropologie is located at 203 Newbury St., in Boston, (617) 262-0545.
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