A banner advertising the art exhibition, Crochet Coral Reef, stands at the entrance to the Lehigh University Art Galleries on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. The exhibition, opening on Sept. 12, 2019, will be interactive, allowing visitors to contribute to the piece. (Sally Gu/B&W Staff)

LUAG ‘underwater’ exhibition to make a splash this fall


This fall, the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) is featuring an exhibition called “Crochet Coral Reef.

The project was created by Margaret and Christine Wertheim and The Institute For Figuring, a non-profit based in Los Angeles, that promotes public understanding of the artistic aspects of math, science and the technical arts. 

“I think it’s going to be so different from what we’ve done the last couple semesters,” LUAG Operations Coordinator Alexandria Wismer, said. 

She said she looks forward to the colorful beauty of the coral and predicts that the art will be a crowd-pleaser.

Mark Wonsidler, the curator of exhibitions and collections for the LUAG, said that the art incorporates several topics simultaneously, including math, feminism, activism and science fiction.

“Good art asks more questions than it answers,” he said.

Toxic Reef featured in the exhibition Crochet Coral Reef: By Margaret and Christine Wertheim. LUAG staff is looking forward to the colorful beauty of the coral and predicts that the art will be a crowd-pleaser to people of the community. (Courtesy of Alexandria Wismer)

Wonsidler said he hopes that the presence of the reef on campus will spark critical and challenging conversations.

He said the LUAG wants to promote intersectionality with the exhibit, and that art allows people to question and understand the world in a way that overlaps with other disciplines. This message, Wonsidler said, is connected to what the reef’s artists wish to portray.

“Art is for everyone,” LUAG Director William Crow said. “It helps us see the world and ourselves differently.”

Wonsidler said that as part of a university, the LUAG prioritizes education when selecting exhibitions and galleries. It seeks exhibitions that are relevant to courses or ideas that already present on campus.

He said selections are also prompted through discussions with faculty about current and future classes.

However, he said that turning potential ideas into action takes time.

“We are usually looking a few years into the future,” Wonsidler said.

“The Motion of Light in Water,” an exhibit that stems from the LUAG’s partnership with Anna Chupa, a professor and chair of the Lehigh art, architecture and design department, will run in conjunction with “Crochet Coral Reef.” Chupa has taught past classes using photographs from the LUAG’s collection that features light in water.

“We felt that this is a perfect time to use pieces that Professor Anna Chupa has been teaching with and to turn them into an exhibition and actually show them,” Wismer said.  

“The Motion of Light in Water” exhibition began on Aug. 26 and will close Dec. 6. It will be open for viewing in Dubois Gallery of Maginnes Hall.

“Crochet Coral Reef” will be on display from Sept. 12 to Dec. 8, and will be located in the LUAG Main Gallery in Zoellner Arts Center.

Other upcoming exhibitions include “British Abstraction: Three Views” and “Brit Pop Snapshot.” “SCALE/shift: Large and Small Works” and “Teaching Museum” are current exhibits.

These displays are located throughout campus galleries such as the Fairchild-Martindale Study Gallery, The Gallery at Rauch Business Center and Siegel Gallery in Iacocca Hall on Mountaintop.

Crow encourages students to visit the LUAG and get involved.

“Our Student Advisory Committee is leading the charge to help us create fantastic programs,” Crow said. “Join us.”

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