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Art Student Immersed in Gold, Art Nouveau

Digital Exhibition Touches Hearts of Art Students

With humans being such creative beings, there have been countless artists that have lived throughout Earth’s timeline creating amazing works. Some pieces are one-of-a-kind or lost in time, which eliminates the opportunity for us to see these great works themselves. Here is where digital exhibitions come in. 


On March 29, 2023, Nutley High School’s Art II and Animation students visited the Hall Des Lumieres, a digital art center in New York City. On the Hall des Lumieres website, it is described as an “immersive experience”. This exhibition displayed multiple works from different artists, yet the main focus was on Gustav Klimt, an Austrian Art Nouveau artist who lived from 1862 to 1918. Art II students had previously learned about the Art Nouveau art style in class. 


Jessica Manley, Art II teacher says, “We went on this trip to expose students to a variety of concepts and techniques and designs that we studied prior to going, and one of those things was the Art Nouveau style of Gustav Klimt.” Manley feels it is important to learn about artists’ lives when looking at their art. 


Prior to the trip, students learned about the artist’s life as a painter along with his techniques. Manley says, “I think it’s so important to understand the artist as a person and be able to see how their lives were reflected and shown and what they took away from their experience and what is left now is shared through their work as an artist.” When analyzing his art, it is obvious that there is heavy use of gold paint, along with the constant use of the female body. 


Art II student Viha Kothakonda said, “While I’m not the biggest fan of his art style, I can definitely see how someone else could like it. It is very flashy and colorful.” 


The exhibition consisted of two floors. The upper level of the Hall is open and big, while the lower level is more closed off and condensed, although more comfortable for viewing eyes. Throughout the exhibition, there is an elegant soundscape playing in the background, adding a grand aspect to the experience. Manley said, “Being able to see it in real-time and the digital format I felt was really important to immerse yourself within the space, within the art and the moving imagery of the paintings.” 


Kothakonda says, “It was definitely cool and different to see these paintings in a new format. Rather than seeing it in front of me, it almost felt like I was in the painting itself.”


Yet, there is only so much a few projectors, screens, and music can do. Are seeing the paintings in person versus digitally comparable? Manley thinks so. She said, “I think seeing the art in person and digitally are equally as important. I think this is just the new technology and new medium that they are kind of exploring with and pushing the boundaries with. On the other hand, I do think it is important to go see the original artworks in museums like the Met we have very close to us. I think going to see the artwork is important; we get to see the artist’s brush strokes, the canvas. I think there’s no substitution for that, but personally, these new mediums are giving the art more spice.” 


However, the Hall Des Lumieres is not the only place doing exhibitions like this. Manley said, “There are a lot of these immersive experiences popping up. There's the Van Gogh exhibition, the Gustav Klint exhibition. I think there is so much potential there for more of these featuring more artists.”


The future for art is looking very bright as new technology appears and it is likely that this kind of immersive exhibition will become more popular for art students and art fans alike.