The Burchfield Penney Art Center is pleased to announce that the Museu Universitário de Arte-MUnA (University Art Museum), which is part of the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (Federal University of Uberlândia) in Uberlândia, Brazil, has invited Nancy Weekly to teach a course in Brazil during the Semana Nacional de Museus (National Museums Week) from May 14 to 18, 2012. She will be teaching an intensive, 20-hour course during five days, presenting a series of lecture/presentations about contemporary issues in American museum practices, especially regarding the function of museums as public institutions that play a role in their communities, including the interpretation of collections, educational strategies, and development of exhibitions.
The course will include an overview of the regional mission, yet national focus, of the Burchfield Penney Art Center and its collaborative projects with Buffalo State College and other Western New York cultural institutions. Weekly will introduce the American artist Charles E. Burchfield—the museum’s namesake—to South America, focusing on her interpretation of his work in regard to current research on synesthesia—the neurological phenomenon that occurs when a stimulus in one sense modality immediately evokes a sense in another modality, such as seeing sounds as shapes, patterns and colors.
Other topics will include:
- A survey of non-museum professionals and artists such as Robert Gober and Fred Wilson who were commissioned to act as curators to reinterpret museum collections in unique installations that change how we perceive our cultural heritage
- A growing trend in museum service to its audience by museums that reach beyond the typical paradigm, such as the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City that tells the history of immigration while serving new immigrants
- The idea of pluralism in exhibition development by seeking multiple voices in place of a single curatorial perspective, as exemplified by the National Museum of the American Indian, to impact the relevance of museums acting as social, cultural, and political institutions
Since both the host institution (the Museu Universitário de Arte-MUnA) and the Burchfield Penney Art Center are associated with educational institutions, Weekly will also illustrate examples of the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s multi-disciplinary and multi-media exhibitions, as well as graduate student projects that involved research, interpretation, exhibition planning and presentations of objects from several of Buffalo’s historical, archival and art collections.
Weekly’s guest lectureship represents an extraordinary opportunity for an exchange of ideas about museums across the continents that will serve students, faculty and the art communities in Uberlândia and Buffalo. Subsequent reports, publications and other documentation will further resonate in Brazil and the United States after the National Museum Week has commenced.
Nancy Weekly, M.A. is Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the only museum dedicated to American watercolor master Charles E. Burchfield and artists of the Buffalo Niagara region. She also serves as an adjunct lecturer in Museum Studies for the Department of History and Social Studies Education at Buffalo State College
For more than 25 years, Ms. Weekly has organized exhibitions on an extensive array of subjects including historic and contemporary art, photography, craft art and decorative arts, with a specialization in Western New York artists. She is recognized as the world’s leading expert on Charles E. Burchfield, having organized nationally touring exhibitions of his work with accompanying catalogs, as well as a wide range of publications. She assisted Robert Gober and UCLA’s Hammer Museum staff in developing Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, and contributed an essay on Burchfield’s unusual Conventions for Abstract Thoughts. Her essay, Color and Sound: Charles E. Burchfield and the Question of Synesthesia was published in the exhibition catalog, Sensory Crossovers: Synesthesia in American Art. Her most recent essay, Storyboard: The Sexual Politics of Jackie Felix, appears in the catalog for a retrospective exhibition of Felix’s provocative art that represents topical social issues, such as female identity, popular culture, and sexual politics within the context of feminism and late 20th-early 21st-century art.