“Community” is Theme of 2018 “What Is Good Art?” Exhibition

The Kenan Institute for Ethics’ annual What Is Good Art? exhibition was begun as a means to explore how visual art and ethics are intertwined. Every year, students across the Duke campus are invited by Team Kenan, the student branch of the KIE, to submit original works of art that explore ideas of how we should live, the role that art plays in our lives, and its impact on how we see the world.

The 2018 exhibition theme — “Community” — originated from a Team Kenan discussion about what shapes our identity and how our associations define us. How do we agree on a shared basis for experiencing and navigating the world around us? Do we choose our communities or do they choose us?

This year’s exhibition opened on Monday, April 23rd with a well-attended afternoon reception. The works on display were reviewed by a distinguished panel of experts in art and/or ethics and were selected for their interesting combination of aesthetic accomplishment and reflection on the notion of community. Some of the works demand change, some may make the viewer grimace, laugh, squirm, cry, and/or wonder, and all confront the question, “How ought we live?”

The 17 works on view include photographs, drawings, video, paintings, and mixed media works.

Judges’ Awards

First Prize: FORM Magazine (Cassidy von Seggern, editor-in-chief), Solidary and Solitary: An Introspective, video, run-time 3:40.

Second Prize: Sheridan Wilbur
 (Political Science, 2019), Activists – Are You Asleep Too?, photograph.

Third Prize (tie):

  • Danielle Smith (MFAEDA, 2019), I don’t Understand, mixed media.
  • Adam Beskind (Music and Public Policy, 2020), Afterglow, photograph.

Audience Choice Award (3-way tie):

  • Nathan Liang (Trinity, 2021), Thinking Without the Box, charcoal on paper.
  • Jackson Steger (Public Policy, 2018), Under the Surface – Empathy at Duke, video, run-time 3:49.
  • Jeainny Kim (Visual Arts, 2018), Mandalay Bay Suite 2017, scanner prints.

What Is Good Art? is on display as a collective exhibition in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery of the West Duke Building through May 16, 2018.