Desire, Conflict & Exchange Featured Student: Xinyu Liu

Written by Arts Management Intern Diana Kate Karsanow

Xinyu Liu is one of the students from the Art History Capstone course from this past fall which was responsible for the curation of the current exhibit: Desire, Conflict & Exchange Art of 19th Century East Asia & the West. Liu is a senior Accounting major and  Art and Architecture History minor from China. On campus, she is involved in a volunteering organization.

During the semester long capstone course, all students worked collaboratively to select an overall theme, sub-themes, and a wide variety of pieces to be featured. Later on, each student chose an individual piece to highlight and explore more in-depth, researching its history and background and then compiling that information in a catalogue entry. 

Liu chose the hanging scroll portrait titled, Portrait of an Older Manchu Woman that comes from the Qing Dynasty in China and was made around the 1840s-1870s. This portrait demonstrates the artist’s influence of photography which was introduced by the West. The woman’s forward facing position, detailed facial features, and elaborate background remind the viewer of a portrait photograph from the same time period. Liu wanted to study this piece because she was interested in the various portraiture techniques used during the Qing Dynasty.

The Capstone class allowed Liu to explore more ideas and concepts needed to create an art exhibition. The experience also helped Liu improve her research skills because she was working with an artwork with an unknown artist and provenance. Her favorite part of the Capstone was designing the exhibition. The entire class worked together to arrange the objects in the perfect order to create a strong and compelling narrative about 19th century trade and exchange.

Lui would recommend the Capstone course to her friends that are not Art and Architecture History students because it is so much more than just an art history class. When reflecting on how the course will benefit a student not trained in art or art history Lui states “it will improve both research skills and art knowledge and also will provide a precious exhibition experience.”

The exhibition opened Tuesday, January 28 and will remain open through alumni weekend, closing on Saturday, June 13.

Come learn more about Xinyu’s piece along with the rest of the exhibition, Desire, Conflict & Exchange, at the Miami University Art Museum!

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