SCRAM organizes gallery talks, movies, art loans

Movie nights: Popcorn provided; bring your own blanket and pillow

Photo/Charles A. Radin

Adam Lavender '13 rented a painting by Lokos for the semester.

SCRAM -- the Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum -- is best known by students as the organizer and host of SCRAM Jam, an annual dance party in the museum galleries. But as the museum and the university strive to put the uncertainties of recent years behind them, the group has evolved into a voice for the student body and the Rose alike.

The goal of the committee, which is funded by Alex Barkas '68 and his wife, Lynda Wijcik, is to strengthen the relationship between the Rose and Brandeis students through a variety of art-related programs and activities. SCRAM events provide students who may be unfamiliar with the museum with opportunities for interaction with the modern art collection, the current exhibits and the museum as a whole.

SCRAM activities abated for a while during the period of controversy over the museum's future. The group was revived in late fall of 2009 by a handful of students led by Rebecca Ulm '11, Rachel Comstock '10 and Tara Metal '10, a guide at the museum and a European Cultural Studies Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Metal says they were motivated by the desire to "provide correct information about the museum." SCRAM held yoga classes in the main Foster gallery and organized several guided tours. These students laid the foundation for the current group of SCRAM members to expand the museum's student programming.

This past fall, SCRAM began meeting on a weekly basis with the museum's director of academic programs, Dabney Hailey, to organize SCRAM Jam and begin brainstorming about the calendar for the spring semester. SCRAM has established regularity as a club with weekly meetings and hosted events. 

SCRAM includes a group of seniors who are profoundly involved in the arts and the Rose: Maarit Ostrow '11 and Emily Leifer ‘11 are curatorial interns at the museum, Sarah Levy '11 is the visitor services coordinator and Ulm and Leifer are Fine Arts Undergraduate Departmental Representatives.

This group of students successfully revived SCRAM Jam in November, after a hiatus in 2009. Upper classmen were excited and underclassmen were energized by the novelty.

More than 200 students attended the event, which began with a posh cocktail hour followed by a DJ'd dance party and a Georges Meliés film lighting the walls of the Lee gallery. SCRAM Jam is likely to continue as an annual party in the galleries filled with the works of Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein.

Following this success, the committee has lined up a number of events for the spring semester.

A planned movie series will take place in the Lee galleries including "Blowup," "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and "Basquiat." Popcorn is included.

There will be three "Visual Thinking Thursdays" - forums led by Hailey in which students can discuss pieces from the collection and exhibits in depth with their peers. The group is in the process of scheduling three gallery talks led by Professor Peter Kalb (Fine Arts), Professor Tallinn Grigor (Fine Arts) and Professor Michael Henchmen.

SCRAM also has re-energized the Student Loan Collection program. This program is comprised of the Charna Cowan Student Loan Collection, established in the fall of 1956, and the Robert W. Schiff Student Loan Collection, established in December of 1971 with a startup donation from Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Lee in memory of Mrs. Lee's father.

SCRAM set up a distribution system in the Shapiro Campus Center on Feb. 3. All students living on campus were able to rent a work of art for the semester for $5. The collection includes approximately 500 works on paper and paintings by modern and contemporary artists. A senior expressed enthusiasm that he was able to hang a work by Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Rauschenberg in his dorm in the Mods.

Whether for a popcorn filled movie night or to discuss the Andy Warhol piece in the Foster gallery, check out SCRAM's schedule of events.

Thursday, February 17 Visual Thinking Thursdays, Rose galleries, 4 p.m.

Join Dabney Hailey and your peers in an examination of some of the works on view.  Rather than a lecture, Visual Thinking Thursday sessions emphasize careful observation and group discussion to delve more deeply into a work of art. 

Sunday, March 6,  "Exit Through the Gift Shop," movie, Lee Gallery, 7 p.m.

A quasi-documentary by the infamous Banksy. "Exit Through the Gift Shop" explores street art in the United States and Europe, weaving reality and fiction together to explore a lesser-known side of the art world. Popcorn included, blankets and pillows BYO.

Thursday, March 10, Music Unites Us: Simon Shaheen, Foster Gallery, 3:30 p.m.

Palestinian composer and musician Simon Shaheen combines traditional Arabian music with jazz, western, and Latin sounds.  Come for a talk by Dabney Hailey on Ana Mendieta's Body Tracks followed by a concert in the gallery.

Thursday, March 24, Visual Thinking Thursday, Rose galleries, 4 p.m.

Sunday, April 3, "Basquiat," movie, Lee Gallery, 7 p.m.

"Basquiat," directed by Julian Schnabel, tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist, living in Thompkins Square Park in a cardboard box, Jean-Michel is "discovered" by Andy Warhol's art world and becomes a star. But success has a high price, and Basquiat pays with friendship, love, and eventually, his life. Popcorn included, blankets and pillows BYO.

Thursday, April 7, Artist Talk, Natalie Frank, TBA

Contemporary artist Natalie Frank will discuss her work and process, with particular focus on her "Czech Bride" currently on view in the Foster.

Thursday, April 28, Visual Thinking Thursday, Rose galleries, 4 p.m.

The final Visual Thinking Thursday session of the semester!  Come for a last look at the Regarding Painting show in the Foster gallery before the semester ends.  

Categories: Arts, Student Life

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