Haggerty Museum exhibit helps “enhance” MU curriculum


Photo by Hannah Hernandez

The Haggerty Art Museum is home to more than 8,000 pieces of art

“Art is possibility,” Anya Degenshein, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, said. The act of sharing art allows for new interpretations and responses, Degenshein said.

The Haggerty Museum of Art is home to approximately eight thousand pieces of art, and they are on display at the exhibitions that are created every semester.

Expanding Our Horizons: Exploring and Encountering the Unknown is one of Haggerty’s current exhibitions. This exhibition is a part of a series that explores the Marquette Core Curriculum discovery tier themes: Basic Needs and Justice; Cognition, Memory and Intelligence; Crossing Boundaries: The Movement of People, Goods and Ideas; Individuals and Communities; Expanding Our Horizons.

Lynne Shumow, the curator for academic engagement, said that she hopes that through the exhibition, visitors can see that art can be viewed from many different lenses.

“Stressing the importance of art as something that can relate to all learning, I’m really trying to get students away from thinking that art is just for art’s sake. Hopefully, students see that art represents all cultures and all times, and it’s something that they can learn from no matter what sort of major they have or what sort of class they’re taking,” Shumow said.

In addition to the art exhibitions, throughout the semester, classes take place at Haggerty. This semester, about 90 classes have been to Haggerty, Shumow said.

“We are using the arts to enhance learning across the curriculum. Everything from biology to theology to occupational therapy, so we really are working with classes from all over campus” Shumow said.

Ben Lash, a senior in the College of Communication, works at Haggerty and is the president of Art Club at Marquette. Lash said that while working at Haggerty, he has grown to love art even more and has seen how art connects to every discipline.

“I love art’s capacity to express the human experience and the world in general, especially different perspectives. I think that there’s so much creativity that can come from those different subjective perspectives. I think it’s an incredible way to look outside of yourselves to learn about the world,” Lash said.

Marquette faculty, from multiple disciplines, have contributed to the exhibit by choosing pieces from Haggerty’s permanent collection. They chose pieces that center around encountering and exploring the unknown, and they also wrote a reflection on those images.

Anya Degenshein, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, selected “Lee Friedlander American, b. 1934 California, 2009 Gelatin silver print 16 x 20 in” and “David Levinthal American, b. 1949 Undressing, 1986 Acrylic on canvas 35 x 35 in” to be in the exhibit.

Degenshein said that she selected these because they connected to the course she teaches, Surveillance, Law and Society.

“The exhibition breathes new meaning into the Core, illustrating the values of the Core through visual art and not just coursework. For me, teaching students to connect sociological theory and research to examples outside of the classroom is critically important,” Degenshein said in an email.

Degenshein said that art is a creative expression that lacks a singular meaning or literal interpretation. She said that each viewer has a highly subjective experience with art.

“’Exploring and encountering the unknown’ is about being brave enough to learn something new, perhaps outside of our comfort zone, about being brave enough to see something from another person’s perspective. It is about a willingness to be vulnerable about our own gaps in knowledge while also recognizing (constant) opportunities to learn more, experience more,” Degenshein said in an email.

Shumow said that everyone should come to the Haggerty, even if it isn’t for class, to experience the art or for a place to relax.

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at hannah.hernandez@marquette.edu.