Every single day students walk by the Weatherspoon Art Museum without pause or consideration, and I’m definitely not the exception to that rule. As a student at UNC Greensboro, it is all too easy to take our own museum for granted. As a freshman, I avoided any part of campus that was not familiar to me, and as a sophomore or junior, I just associated negative feelings with the building because I had to walk all the way across campus in a few minutes for classes there. Finally, as a senior, I took my first steps into the Weatherspoon Art Museum.
To my surprise, there were actually a lot of families from the Greensboro community who were there, every single gallery room had multiple people in it. Once I allowed myself to explore the museum some, I understood why people came to visit Weatherspoon.
We have a lot of unique works of art right at our front door that we’ve managed to miss out on. One exhibit in particular stood out. This might be because it messed with my mind, but it could also be because it was probably the most intriguing piece of art I’ve ever seen. With a media presentation titled “Eat Your Friends,” how could someone not be interested? Alex Hubbard’s thought provoking video was featured on campus in the Weatherspoon Art Museum from June 11 to Aug. 20 in the Tannenbaum Gallery.
Whenever I walked into the Tannenbaum Gallery, there were people in the room using up all of the seating because everyone decided to go to Weatherspoon Art Museum the same day that I did. Naturally, that meant that I stood awkwardly not absorbing anything from the first section of the video that I saw.
Once the room was empty though, I was finally able to settle in, sit my legs criss-cross applesauce and bring out my notebook to make sure that I actually remembered the video.
From the first frames of the video, it is easy to see that Hubbard is highly interested in the concept of layered compositions. You have three layers that are all being utilized simultaneously throughout the six-minute piece.
The top half of the screen is dominated by a man in a lab coat hanging everyday objects onto a cube shaped frame. The bottom of the screen simply shows the process of “Eat Your Friends,” being spray painted onto a piece of paper on the ground. Finally, the third layer is the most interesting, because it uses coffee cups being filled with coffee until they tumble and spill everywhere.
That last layer might not sound interesting, but it almost looks like it should be protruding from the screen, or like it was meant to be three-dimensional.
The arrangement of these objects and layers may seem random, but if I learned anything from Art History class, it’s that everything has a meaning. That just left the question of what Hubbard’s concept was.
Just watching Hubbard’s video made me feel clueless. I was able to understand that Hubbard was putting things together and then ultimately taking them apart at the end of the video, but what was the deeper meaning?
Everything felt so foreign and playful that I can only assume that this work of art is a commentary on learning how things operate or a child’s curiosity. According to the Weatherspoon Art Museum website, Hubbard describes “Eat your Friends,” as, “Disjointed endeavors as explorations that are similar to a child’s taking apart a toy to see how it works.”
While this exhibit has come to a close, there will be many more opportunities to wander into the Weatherspoon Art Museum and be pleasantly surprised this year. The Weatherspoon Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday during August.