Justin Guiffre: Something, Something, Intriguing

Walking to class every morning for the past two weeks or so, I have on a number of occasions been forced to stop and stare at a new piece in the Smith Hall of Art.

Some of you will instantly recognize what I am talking about. It is called “Something, Something, Laocoon” by Sarah Koss and it has been fascinating to watch this work unfold. Every day, I watch the minutes pass and just try to take in the painting, its scale and complexity almost preventing me from grasping the entire scene.

Thinking about it, I realized this is reflective of a little-known truth about GW – our art programs are actually pretty good.

Wait, what? Something other than law, politics or medicine is being used in the same sentence as GW? I know, I know, it sounds kind of crazy. Sadly, despite a healthy art program and consistently interesting displays by students, we don’t really discuss the works presented on campus.

Pondering this, I decided to investigate just what I have been missing. I figured that there were probably a few things that I turned a blind eye to here and there. After poring over some Hatchet articles, I found several things that I have missed, much to my dismay. The biggest disappointment was realizing that on Oct. 15, I let the Vassar Film Festival held at Jack Morton Auditorium pass me by. With films covering a range of issues and providing some healthy social commentary, it was honestly sad that I missed out.

But even if these outside sources of entertainment and inspiration are refreshing, more so are the ones developed by students right here on campus.

If you venture into the GW Hospital cafeteria you will see a range of quirky self-portraits by a photography student named Kenny George. The series features him confronting himself in a number of odd ways, including bursting through walls and being caught by surprise in the bathtub. The University should be commended for displaying these images in a prominent location rather than letting them collect dust in some closet of Smith Hall or other unseen archive.

The sense of community that these displays foster is an excellent aspect of GW. Encouraging students to utilize the unique shape of the Academic Center for installations gives us something new to process and consider every day. It also helps to remind students, like myself, that we do have an art program that we can be proud of and that can inspire us, even if we are just rushing to class. With many distinguished professors and proximity to resources like the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the arts at GW are a forgotten gem.

So while hurrying past the exhibit corner of the Smith Hall of Art on your way to that Capitol Hill internship – wondering if you will claim Ohio in your future presidential bid – take a second to admire these pieces.

They are there to make us think and, in some cases, to get us to stop thinking and just take in the moment.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.