The term “Strategic Plan” originated in the military but since the 70s it has been a staple of every university, liberal arts college, and even small art schools. It functions as a promise for positive change along with improvements for the institution’s immediate future. This body of work is a collection of flags that combines the traditional pomp and circumstance of academia with business nomenclature widely used within the academic industry.
The designs of these pennants, sailing burgees and medieval gonfalons are a study of vexillography layered with visual elements from various historical periods. Collected on internet clipart sites, the vernacular imagery points to a hollow vocabulary: "SWOT" for strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats; "Competitive Landscape"; "Synergy"; "Global Imperative"; "Innovation Catalyst"; "Leadership Workshop"… At a time when an increasing number of small colleges are under financial stress due to a shrinking student population caused by enormous increases in tuition, these art objects stand as reminders of the true ideals of higher education that are at risk.
The accompanying artist’s book, A Catalog of Flags, is designed in the style of a product catalog. Here, the banners are seen within context, in college specific spaces such as faculty offices, dorm rooms, libraries and art studios while the text points to a business logic that is often not applicable to art education.
This exhibition and artist’s book was generously supported by a Faculty Research Grant from Tufts University.
See companion piece:
COLLECTION OF OBJECTS
Mesa Community College Art Gallery, Threaded, Mesa, AZ
Juried by Maria-Elisa Heg, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and
Mark Newport, Cranbrook Academy of Art
Kingston Gallery, Strategic Planning, Boston, MA
Allegheny College, Strategic Planning, Meadville, PA
curated by Paula Burleigh, Allegheny College Art Gallery Curator
MEADVILLE, PA | NOVEMBER 2018
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
BOSTON ART REVIEW
by Jameson Johnson, January, 2018
by Cate McQuaid, January 17, 2018
MONDAY MORNING ART TALK
Meadville Calendar talks to Raven Clark, a student at Allegheny
KINGSTON GALLERY BLOG
June 20, 2017