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Emerson College's new visual arts gallery in Boston officially opens
NO ONE will tell me who I am is curated by Emerson College undergraduate students as part of the What Is Contemporary Art? Visual and Media Arts course.

BOSTON, MASS.- On Wednesday, December 14, a new exhibition titled NO ONE will tell me who I am will premiere at the recently opened Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery. The exhibition explores the current generation’s desire to construct new and diverse identities that defy the rigidity of social, cultural, and situational uniformity. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will show through Saturday, February 18, 2017 (note: it will be closed during the holidays from December 18, 2016 to January 18, 2017). Located at 25 Avery Street, Boston, the Emerson Urban Arts gallery is open Wednesday–Saturday, 2:00–7:00 pm.

NO ONE will tell me who I am is curated by Emerson College undergraduate students as part of the What Is Contemporary Art? Visual and Media Arts course. Students in the class conducted studio visits at the graduate studios of Boston University School of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and selected a group of 11 young artists for the exhibition.

“Curating an exhibition gives students an opportunity to understand what makes their generation unique through the eyes of their contemporaries in the visual arts,” said Joseph Ketner, the Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and distinguished curator-in-residence, who teaches the Visual and Media Arts class.

“I knew, and everyone knew, when we signed up for this course that there was something very special in the way the course was structured, what it required from students, and the unique hybridization of a seminar class and production work,” said Visual and Media Arts student Josh Samuels ’17. “The experience has been extraordinary—whenever you start to deal with identity, it inherently becomes personal. These featured artists are pouring themselves into their work, and we’re pouring ourselves into the gallery.”

In today’s politically unstable and globalized world, the NO ONE will tell me who I am exhibit follows the current generation in its hunt for ipseity. The 11 featured artists constructed and documented their own unique identities, aiming to uncover where they fit in a diverse and changing society. Some invoke the haziness of memory in order to construct contemporaneous insights on the self throughout time. Others focus on their culture, seeking to take ownership of the mingled heritages and ethnicities of a globalized society. Others still construct identity around the misconceptions of popular stereotypes. Utilizing various mediums, all the artists react to the inflexible social categories, projecting the idea these categories can and should be bent out of shape into something entirely their own.

In the words of Lennon Walcott, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, “I am the creator of my story… I am the authority of my culture.” Homa Sarabi, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, describes her work as “happening in the moment and reproducing present and past.”

“It’s a special opportunity to look into the graduate studios of today and see the work that will be the voice of the emerging generation of artists. It is always new, changing, and invigorating,” said Ketner.

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