Greg Foster-Rice leads the audience's travel in Ralph Arnold's world

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The curatorial talk of Greg Foster-Rice, an associate professor and associate provost at Columbia College in Chicago, guided the audience’s travel in Ralph Arnold’s world. 

Last Monday, Sept. 26, DePauw students and the Greencastle community welcomed Dr. Foster-Rice at the Peeler Art Center to share his thoughts about his installation: “The Many Hats Of Ralph Arnold.”

According to Peeler director Leininger’s introduction, Foster-Rice is an associate professor at Columbia College in Chicago for photography, history, theory, and criticism. 

He has won numerous scholarships and grants for his research, including awards for American art. He got a BA in art and art history from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a Ph.D. in art history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. 

The talk began with a brief introduction to the artist Ralph Arnold. 

When asked about his research experience with Arnold, Dr. Foster-Rice admitted, “I didn’t know much about Arnold. I did more research and found that he had this really interesting identity at that time period, that he was very open and that he made this enormous body of work. So I got really excited and did the research and came up with this show.”

 His previous work, “The City Lost and Found: Capturing New York, Chicago and Los Angeles,” included Arnold’s other art collection. At that time, he knew nothing but Arnold’s that work; he decided “The Many Hats Of Ralph Arnold” would be his next project. 

Dr. Foster-Rice conducted it as a class discussion with the dynamic interaction of fantastic students. As they were going around the exhibition, the speaker and audience discussed the most significant pieces, such as “Above This Earth Games, Games.”  Some students expressed their personal opinions about the art, followed by a deeper sharing from our presenter. He not only described what was in the art but also connected them to today’s culture and politics. 

“These [the art pieces] are now relatively stable at this point. They’re covered in certain kinds of varnish… I mean, they can’t be out on display forever,” Foster-Rice said. “We have just to limit the amount of light that comes on to the objects because you want to preserve certain things that don’t have magazine clippings in them much longer, like pigment based work: oil paints, or marble sculpture.” 

Students enjoyed the talk with Professor Foster-Price and his insights and here were their opinions about the overall ideas talked about during the discussion.

Danielle Sommerman ‘25 loved how Professor Foster-Price interacted with students throughout the lecture. 

“Professor Foster-Price interacted with the students and regularly encouraged questions, commentary, and interaction with Ralph Arnold's art pieces. We were invited to explore the art rather than just view it,” Sommerman replied. 

Duy (Nol) Nguyen ‘26 shared that this was a wonderful experience for him as a first-year at DePauw.

Professor Foster-Rice showed me a new view of Ralph Arnold’s products, where they metaphorically coded Arnold’s illustration of art, politics, and identity,” Nguyen said.

Students marveled at the art pieces by Ralph Arnold and pondered the different meanings of them.

“My favorite piece was Arnold's collection of works inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte. Although some of his larger works, such as "Violence!" have a more impactful message, I couldn't help but be intrigued by all of the ways Napoleon was a muse to Arnold, from putting pieces of himself into depictions of the French leader to depicting him in various homoerotic ways, there was always something new to notice in every viewing of this collection,” Sommerman said.

“I love the art piece titled: ‘Unfinished Collage.’ The art piece was illustrated as a three-panel collage of three famous murder events, with three color grids: red, white, and blue. The three stories have led me through the chronological events of politics and humans in the last age, helped me understand deeper the perspective of Arnold. Leaving the highlight aspect of ‘Unfinished Collage’ was the large blank red grid at the end; it questioned the boundary between future life and death from my perspective. Will there be a next victim? Or will it remain blank as no more world-changing assassinations occur?” Nguyen said.

The “The Many Hats Of Ralph Arnold” exhibition is available until December 9, 2022. 

There will be the next curatorial talk on “Yesterday We Said Tomorrow” on Monday, Oct. 24 at 4:15 p.m. 

Students and local communities are welcome to view the galleries at the following time: 

Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sunday from 1:00 PM - 5:00 p.m., or by appointment, please contact Misti Scott by phone at(765) 658-4336 or by email at mscott@depauw.edu.