Art, Art History and Visual Studies

A Year of Creativity and Bold Thinking Through Bass Connections

The 2021-2022 school year marked a series of welcome returns for the 1,200 students, faculty, staff and community partners who participated in Bass Connections. Our 61 year-long project teams resumed their in-person work on campus, many teams participated in their first fieldwork since 2019 and we were once again able gather together in Penn Pavilion to celebrate the year through our annual Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase.

Work in progress

Writer: 

Emasculated and neutered or evil and calculating? Domineering dragon lady or helpless concubine? In twentieth-century Hollywood, the choices for Asian-American actors were few and far between. Often, the roles available were reductive and one-dimensional—stereotypes come to life.

I realized...my life is a work of art

Writer: 

He appeared on East Campus one tobacco-scented September morning in 1998, his reportorial concentration rendering him as inconspicuous as a man in a bright white suit and spats can be. At the front of the sun-drenched, wood-floored classroom, history professor Ronald Witt (1932-2017) taught Petrarch and Bruni to a few dozen rapt undergraduates. At the back sat Tom Wolfe (1930-2018), scribbling away in a steno pad.

Two images by Fati Abubakar

Work in progress

Writer: 

From the minute I arrived in the United States from Nigeria as an international student, my instinct was to look for an African community—a restaurant, a mosque, an association. And in the African diasporic community, I found happiness, a sense of belonging. However, as a photojournalist, I wondered why so many of us Africans leave home. What was the pull to the United States or to Europe? I was aware of the many turbulent times we have faced in our different African countries, but I always wondered what would happen if we stayed in Africa. Could we build the continent of our dreams?

Power Plant Gallery director Caitlin Kelly helps an artist install her work

A space where M.F.A. students can experiment

Writer: 

Caitlin Margaret Kelly M.F.A. ’14 studies a photo of a back-to-the-lander teaching a younger woman how to aim a rifle, then slides it along the floor toward the center of a wall. Placed there, though, the gun appears to threaten the boy in the photo next to it, standing in his patch of poison ivy. She moves it again, but here it targets a decaying church, its steeple slumping into its sanctuary.

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