In a world where we are inundated with information, it is truly valuable to be able to slow down, look deeply at visual content and make thoughtful observations. Visual literacy is the ability to read and understand visual material and is a skill used each and every day regardless of field of study. The ability to look closely at visual material and use reasoning to make interpretations and evaluations based on observation, is a crucial proficiency needed to be an adaptive learner at any age, and ultimately, a more effective critical thinker.
In the FOCUS exhibition series a single work of art is highlighted to delve deeply into how we look and how we can develop critical thought, questioning and discussion through art. With multiple perspectives, backgrounds and ways of looking presented, this exhibition invites you to examine closely and think deeply in response to the visual world.
Border Crossing (Cruzando el Rio Bravo) by Luis Jiménez provides a rich array of possibilities for interpretation and analysis. A new acquisition to the Art on Campus collection, the print offers an excellent example of lithography, a poignant portrait of immigration, a connection to the Iowa State campus, a glimpse into the artist’s family and much more. A group of faculty from diverse disciplines have offered entrance into these different lenses and expressed the multiplicity of ways to look at a significant work of art. You are encouraged to spend time with the print, read the various interpretations and challenge yourself to discover more, question further and think deeply.
-Lilah Anderson, Exhibition Series Curator and Educator of Visual Literacy and Learning, University Museums
FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art is made possible through generous support from the Kathy and John Howell Art Education Fund. Special thanks to the contributing authors Dr. Hector Avalos, Raluca Iancu, Dr. Bonar Hernández, Dr. Emily Morgan, Dr. José Rosa, Dr. Amy Erica Smith and JaneAnn Stout. Thanks to the University Library and Susan Gent for creating the custom reading list.