From researching to writing to giving presentations and more, UAB/BMA Curatorial Fellow Ruoxin Wang has been a tremendous asset to the Birmingham Museum of Art. Since last August, the Chinese native has received valuable experience with and insight into Museum operations while contributing to the curatorial department in the process. Before her fellowship ends in August, learn more about Ruoxin and the partnership between UAB and the BMA below.
BMA: What brought you to UAB?
Ruoxin Wang: I graduated college with a B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. During the last year of my college study, I became interested in Art History. It was fairly hard to change majors, especially to Art History, on the graduate level in China, so I decided to come to the U.S.. When I was searching for Art History graduate programs here, I became interested in UAB because of this fellowship.
BMA: What interests you about art/art history?
RW: I think that art is a very special and powerful way of expression and communication, not necessarily about meaning or emotion, but in a broader sense. I’m particularly interested in Northern Renaissance art, and for me, it is a very rewarding experience to connect to the past through artwork.
BMA: How have you used your knowledge from your art history classes at UAB during your fellowship at the BMA?
RW: The fellowship offers a variety of opportunities for me to participate, whether it is developing a project, doing object research, or writing worksheets. The knowledge I have gained from my Art History classes has informed my research, and the writing skills I have learned from writing essays for my classes also came in handy. And in turn, the knowledge and experience I got from the fellowship have also been very helpful for my studies.
BMA: UAB/BMA fellows typically create a project or a portion of a project with a supervising curator. Did you do a project? If so, can you tell us more?
RW: I have completed several different kinds of projects and am still working on some. I did the Kirklin Rotation, which is organized around the theme of different glazes. Also, I did provenance research on several artworks, wrote the text for one “Spotlight on the Collection,” led the discussion at one “ArtBreak,” compiled a conditional report and restoration history of the Kress paintings, and documented the X-Rays. I am working on cataloguing Chinese fan paintings and the cast iron rotation right now.
BMA: What has been the most valuable part of your time at the BMA?
RW: For me, there are several experiences I’ve found very valuable. I cherish every discussion I had with the curators here. I really enjoyed the time that I spent researching artworks, being able to inspect and appreciate them closely. It was also very exciting to get firsthand experience putting an exhibition together, albeit a small one, and to acquire a better understanding of the coordination and collaboration between different departments.
BMA: What are your career aspirations?
RW: I am still trying to decide whether to teach Art History or work in a museum or gallery setting. I’m open to different directions at this point, and I think I’ll be focused on getting a Ph.D. degree first.