Hunter Art Professor Mongrain Selected for Smithsonian Oral History Program
Hunter Art Professor Jeffrey Mongrain has been invited to join America's most acclaimed artists as a contributor to the oral history program of the Smithsonian Institute's Archives of American Art. Professor Mongrain, a sculptor, called the invitation "one of the most significant, and somewhat intimidating, honors I've received."
To take part in the program, Mongrain will spend three days in Washington talking about his life and work to two Smithsonian oral historians. The recorded conversations will become part of a permanent collection that the Institute launched in 1958 and now includes the voices of some 2,000 major artists. The Archives invite about 30 artists a year to become part of the groundbreaking project.
An art professor at Hunter since 1995, Mongrain creates both gallery-based works and site-specific pieces. One critic described his work as bringing "a human dimension to abstracted yet iconic forms," while another said he "takes the viewer on a journey to the world of experience and meaning on several... levels."
Among the exhibitions including Mongrain's work this year are those at the Icheon Museum in Korea; the KulturZentrum in Austria; the Tampa Museum and Harn Museum in Tampa, Florida; and Hunter's Leubsdorf Gallery. In 2012 his work will be represented at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia; the St. James Cathedral in Seattle; and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.
The Smithsonian is the largest collector of primary resources documenting the history of the visual arts in the United States. The Institute's archives have included a number of past Hunter faculty, among them Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Rosalind Krauss, Tony Smith, and Robert Morris.