3 Questions: Three Emerging Student Artists React To Their Wiesner Student Art Gallery Experiences In Fall 2019

Exposures II featuring Adam Jost and SAA artists, Surrounded by Digitized Faces and Bodies featuring Yangyang Yang and recent IDM alumni, and Ohyoon Kwon’s Closing Remarks

Each month, the Jerome B. Wiesner Student Art Gallery welcomes students, staff, faculty, and visitors to view a new and engaging exhibition of student art work. A gift from MIT’s Class of 1983, the gallery displays a wide range of art, from painting and origami, to video and sound art. We asked three MIT student artists for their reactions to their experiences exhibiting at the Wiesner Gallery during the fall 2019 semester.

Can you describe your history of making art at MIT, and before MIT?

Adam Jost, Research Scientist, MIT EAPS: Exposures II

Adam Jost presented a selection of photographs with a group of other MIT artists participating in classes in the Student Art Association (SAA). Their exhibition, Exposures II, was the second exhibition organized by student photographers working in the SAA darkroom. It featured silver gelatin prints made by nine photographers, each experimenting with their own darkroom printing style and technique. Describing the Wiesner Gallery experience as “rewarding,” Jost provides insight into why he began publicly displaying his artwork at the Institute. 

“Before MIT, and particularly before the Wiesner shows, I had never taken my art all the way from conception and creation to complete piece for display. Showing my work at the Wiesner pushed me to take my work past the point where I usually stopped. Now, I have the ability and confidence to take my art through to a final product.”

Why did you choose to display your work in the Wiesner Student Art Gallery?

Yangyang Yang SM ’18: Surrounded by Digitized Faces and Bodies

Yangyang Yang along with other recent Integrated Design Management (IDM) alumni featured their artwork in the exhibition Surrounded by Digitized Faces and Bodies. The artists organized the exhibition as a collection of interactive installations that mirror visitors’ own images in unexpected ways. Using immersive sound, video recording, and projection, faces and bodies of gallery visitors become part of the works.  The artists hoped the work would “reflect the skepticism and irony of postmodern life,” and would “urge viewers to look inside and befriend their inner selves.” As a designer and maker interested in creating immersive experiences, Yangyang reflects on the decision to bring IDM’s innovative art to the Wiesner Gallery.

“We designed a new media art exhibition including five interactive installations. The Wiesner Student Gallery is a nice place to showcase MIT art innovation: an integration of art and technology. It also provides enough room for the audiences to interact with the works, chat, and take a break during the campus tour. Plus, the curator and staff at the Gallery have provided strong support for us.”

How have you benefited from being an exhibitor at the Wiesner Gallery?

Ohyoon Kwon ‘20: Closing Remarks

A Brain and Cognitive Science and Philosophy student, Ohyoon Kwon used visual metaphor to evoke memories and emotions in her exhibition, Closing Remarks. Kwon explores states of mind and mental health, hoping to provide emotional consolation for the viewer. Reflecting on her experience as an exhibitor, Kwon praises the process of preparing an exhibition at the Wiesner Gallery.

“I have benefited from being an exhibitor in several ways. First, I got to know and work with Sarah Hirzel, who has been a wonderful mentor to me. From preparing for the exhibition and working with Hirzel to curate my artworks, I learned new information about my own artworks that I couldn’t learn otherwise. I also enjoyed having an exhibition that I could share with my friends, family, and mentors. People also approached me, expressing interest in purchasing my artwork and seeing other works I didn’t display. The interest in purchasing my artwork was a very validating and exciting moment for me as a student artist.”


Artwork from the Wiesner Gallery exhibition “BODY TEXT” by Jonathan Zong. Courtesy of the artist.


Each student’s reflection about their experience exhibiting work at the Wiesner Gallery is a reminder that MIT is comprised of thoughtful students who enjoy representing their work to visitors interested in a variety of artistic disciplines. The Wiesner Gallery provides a vital outlet for creative expression, whether the students’ artistic pursuits are tied to academic or aesthetic interests.

Stay tuned for upcoming exhibitions! Beginning on January 15, a multimedia installation by CSAIL graduate student Jonathan Zong includes bio-responsively generated text forms created by custom software. In March, architecture graduate students Dalma Foldesi and Jung In Seo will exhibit printed ceramic vessels and structures. In April, Merryn Daniel ‘20 will exhibit paintings made independently and through a SAA painting course. Other exhibitions this semester will include the winners of the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts

To apply to exhibit during the 2020-2021 academic year, contact Sarah Hirzel at shirzel@mit.edu. Art proposals of all types are welcome, including design, performance, and technology. Curatorial projects and collaborations are encouraged. Current undergraduate, graduate students, and student groups are invited to apply.

The Wiesner Student Art Gallery is located on the 2nd floor of the Stratton Student Center, MIT building W20. It is free and open to the public seven days a week.

Posted on January 14, 2020 by Harry Bachrach