On Monday, Sept. 27 at 10:00 a.m., the AP Art History class traveled across the street to the Delamar Hotel to see an art exhibit by Jennifer Wen Ma.
Ma is a visual artist from Beijing who is currently living in New York. She is a contemporary artist who works in mediums such as photography, painting, and intricately laser cut paper. “The Delamar Hotel has an affiliation with the New Britain Museum of American Art,” art history teacher Wayne Pierce explained. “So in their lobby, right across the street, they will get some artwork from the museum and rotate throughout the year.” Ma currently has an exhibition at the New Britain Museum of American Art, and as part of that, she has lent some of her pieces to be displayed at the Delamar.
In some of Ma’s work, she incorporates direct inspiration from the work of ancient Chinese art pieces. “One out of the 250 works that students will study in AP Art history is by a 10th century Chinese painter named Fan Kuan,” Dr. Pierce said. One of Ma’s pieces that is on display in the Delamar is inspired by Fan Kuan. “So what I wanted to do was allow students to make the connection between this contemporary artist and the work from the 10th century, which inspired her, especially since we will be studying that work,” Dr. Pierce said. “I felt that it was important that we made a connection while the exhibition is still there. It was kind of an organic connection since it’s right across the street. It made a lot of sense for us to visit the exhibition.”
AP art history students wrote essays comparing the 10th century piece that inspired Ma’s work to her contemporary piece. “Seeing Jennifer Wen Ma’s work in person was interesting and definitely helped me formulate an idea of what I wanted to write about in our essay,” junior Jill Plaut said. “As a hands-on learner, it was really beneficial to be able to make that connection between the content we’re studying in class and an exhibition right across the street.”
Dr. Pierce hopes to continue to take more trips similar to this with the AP Art history class in order to incorporate real life experiences into the course of study and create connections between the content they’re studying and local art exhibits.
“Besides going back to the Delamar when their next display gets rotated in, we also want to visit the Wadsworth Atheneum and the New Britain Museum of American Art,” Dr. Pierce said. This first visit to the Delamar is sure to be one of the many AP art history class’s field trips.