Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions

Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions

Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College

Marsden Hartley, Alpspitze, Mittenwald Road from Gschwandtnerbauer, 1933–34. Oil on cardboard, 44.6 x 75.1 cm. Collection of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art. Gift of James Taylor Dunn. Photo: John Bentham.


September 11, 2017
Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions
The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Five Years, Highlights from the Permanent Collection
September 9–December 10, 2017
Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, New York 13323
United States
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Wellin Collects: a discussion with William E. Williams: October 20, 4:30–6pm
William E. Williams, ‘73 will discuss the importance of teaching collections. 

Curator’s tour: November 9, 4:15–5pm
Katherine D. Alcauskas will lead a tour of Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions

In celebration of its fifth anniversary, the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College presents an exhibition of 140 works of art drawn from its permanent collection. Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions brings together recent acquisitions of contemporary art and works donated over the last 150 years by alumni and friends of the College. Artworks by Michelle GrabnerElias Sime, and Vanessa German will debut at the museum for the first time.  Reflecting the museum’s five-year history, several works on view were acquired by the Wellin through its exhibition program, by artists including Rhona BitnerKaren HamptonYun-Fei JiSharon LockhartRenée Stout, and Frohawk Two Feathers. These pieces are in conversation with historic works from the collection, including ancient Greek vases, glass vessels from the Roman Empire, Mesoamerican ceramics, and Native American objects of material culture. The diversity of the exhibition—with mediums ranging from prints and drawings to photographs, sculptures, and paintings—reflects that of the collection itself.

Curator Katherine D. Alcauskas explains, “The title of this exhibition, Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions, reflects a multivalent perspective. The show speaks to the Wellin’s mission to develop new exhibitions, support original scholarship, and craft a permanent collection on the cutting edge of the field, while also looking back at Hamilton’s long history of art collecting and rotating exhibitions as well as its educational mission.”

Innovative Approaches encourages visitors to draw upon their own knowledge and experiences to interpret the works. The show is arranged into six distinct themes, or “lenses,” that reflect Hamilton’s educational goals. These are:

Investigation / Recognition, presenting works that employ patterns, symbols, and schematics to explore how art can help develop our analytic skills

Appreciation / Evaluation, focusing on the role of art in promoting our understanding of aesthetic discernment

Tradition / Inspiration, featuring works that are either indicative of cultural traditions or demonstrate the fluid transfer of ideas between cultures

Transmission / Articulation, demonstrating how art can shed light on the way we communicate and express ourselves

Participation / Condition, encompassing works that address social and political concerns including pollution, slavery, poverty, commerce, and war

Imagination / Invention, examining the power of art to foster creativity, intellectual curiosity, and innovative problem-solving

Each section of Innovative Approaches presents works from various time periods and cultures, offering a progressive understanding of the history of art and creative output that is in line with the Wellin’s mission. A fragment of an Assyrian relief from the ancient city of Nimrud (located in present-day Iraq)—one of the first objects donated to Hamilton College early in its history—will be exhibited within the same section as works by Lorna SimpsonCarrie Mae Weems, and Martin Wong, and iconic 19th century photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron and Eadweard Muybridge are juxtaposed with pieces by key Post-war contemporary artists such as Josef Albers, Henry Moore, and Ed Ruscha.

This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication featuring an essay by Katherine D. Alcauskas, the Wellin’s Collections and Exhibitions Specialist and curator of the exhibition, detailing the history of the arts and collecting on Hamilton College’s campus, from the establishment of the original “Cabinet” in 1850 to the technologically sophisticated galleries, teaching spaces, and open storage of the Wellin Museum today.

RSVP for Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions
Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College
September 11, 2017

Thank you for your RSVP.

Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.