Students purchase art during WFU’s one-of-a-kind New York art acquisition trip

With $100K, committee selects five works for Student Union Contemporary Art Collection

With $100K, committee selects five works for Student Union Contemporary Art Collection

Once every four years since 1963, Wake Forest students have traveled to New York City over spring break on a Student Union Art Acquisition Trip to purchase art on behalf of the University. They are asked to choose contemporary artwork that reflects the times.

The six students, after hundreds of hours of research over several months, narrowed their choices. They made appointments at 13 galleries to learn more about the artists and see available pieces.

During the visit to New York, Kai Ryssdal interviewed Wake Forest senior Devon Gilbert on the national radio program “Marketplace” for the segment “Why Wake Forest Gave Six Students $100,000.”

WFU students at the Uprise Gallery on Canal Street. Artist Eric LoPresti talks about his work on exhibit.
WFU students at the Uprise Gallery on Canal Street. Artist Eric LoPresti talks about his work on exhibit.

This year, the students selected five works for the collection — all by international artists.

  • Over My Dead Body” by Mona Hatoum, a Lebanese-born Palestinian video artist and installation artist who lives in London.
  • “Mana” from The Masses from the Book of Kings series by Shirin Neshat, an Iranian visual artist who lives in New York City, known primarily for translating political unrest through an artistic lens.
  • The Time Vivarium 81” by Sun Xun, a Chinese artist who grew up in the period immediately following the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The lingering aftereffects of this movement have a profound impact on his work.
  • Man-Size” by Richard Mosse, an Irish conceptual documentary photographer best known for his photographs of the war in the Eastern Congo using color infrared film intended to create a new perspective on conflict.
  • DNA” by Faig Ahmed, whose sculptures incorporate ancient carpet-weaving techniques from his native country of Azerbaijan.
“The works selected by the students this year, not only build on the legacy of the University’s contemporary art collection, they are powerful works that beyond a doubt reflect the past four years of social, political and cultural issues facing our world.” Leigh Ann Hallberg, Wake Forest art professor and faculty leader for the trip

The Student Union Collection of Contemporary Art is the University’s premier and most recognizable collection. One hundred and eighteen artists are represented in over 160 works. Students choose works for this collection independently. They do not require University approval of their selections.

Students and faculty and staff leaders are available for interviews.

Click here to read art acquisition team member and junior Spanish major Will Colburn’s reflections about the trip.