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The Vault: Steve Butcher

July 3 – 29, 2018

The Vault

Steve Butcher, <i>Still Life</i>, 1983. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, gift of Vera and Stephen L. Schlesinger.

Steve Butcher, Still Life, 1983. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, gift of Vera and Stephen L. Schlesinger.

This work was selected by Simone Bryant (class of 2018), who explains: “As a painter myself, I connect a lot with this painting. I am a huge fan of realism and intense color palettes. What I find most provocative about this painting is the guy who is looking straight at the viewer. His face is so contorted and drawn. At first, I questioned if the artist was just contorting his features because he was depicting a black man. But the edgy colors and defined brushstrokes indicate that it was an artistic decision rather than a racial distinction. The urban subway scene is also very familiar to me from my times visiting family in New York. There are always so many different people, with different lives, all traveling the same way. The range of people and personalities reflected in this painting instantly reminded me of that experience.”

The Vault

The Vault, which also houses some of the works from our permanent collection, is dedicated to featuring and displaying works chosen by MSU students who work at the museum. Each month, one of our student gallery guides selects a piece from our collection and writes a short text explaining why they chose it and believe it should be displayed. By providing our gallery guides with an opportunity to participate in the curatorial process of selection and display, we aim to open a dialogue with the student community while simultaneously sharing with the public works from the collection that would otherwise remain in storage.