How to Ace an Art History Exam (Advice from an Art History Tutor)

Creative Agnes

During my time at Agnes Scott. I had the wonderful opportunity to tutor students in Art History. I decided that before I graduated, I should share with others in detail how I personally study for art history exams. Everyone has their own way that works best for them, but I find that this particular studying process mirrors the format of art history exams. I hope that the method I outlined here is as effective for you as it was for me. 

1) Gather notes together

2) Find keywords/concepts in my notes for the reduced list of works; highlight them or list them in a study guide document. If you find that your notes are inadequate on a certain work, look at someone else’s notes or re-read about that work in the book.

3) Download all of the powerpoints onto your computer. Don’t worry you can erase them after the exam…

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Art Papers Auction

Agnes Scott Permanent Art Collection Internship

Our group from Agnes Scott's Department of Art and Art History arriving at the auction. Photo credit: Matt Ruby Our group from Agnes Scott’s Department of Art and Art History arriving at the auction.
Photo credit: Matt Ruby

Saturday night, the Department of Art and Art History attended the Art Papers Auction, held at a new location this year—Bobo Intriguing Objects. The auction supports Art Papers, an art journal based in Atlanta. The bidding follows a silent auction format, where persons write their name and bid amount on papers located beside each piece. However, the event is anything but silent. Loud music and lively conversation give the event the atmosphere of a party and one can even see occasional dancing as the night goes on. The auction attracts a wide variety of persons, ranging from serious bidders to those who seem to be there mostly for the party. The diversity of those who attend the auction attests to the ability of art to bring people together. This evokes the…

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A beautiful exhibition in the Decatur Arts Alliance Gallery / Decatur Visitors Center is the result of a collaboration between the Decatur Arts Alliance and the 2014 Agnes Scott Studio Art majors.

This work of nine senior studio art majors at Agnes Scott College is the culmination of creative explorations, thinking and working from their studios on the third floor of the Dana Fine Arts building, a key hot spot for the arts in the city of Decatur.

We invite you to enjoy this show of various perspectives in a variety of media by:

  • Mercedez Hart
  • Mia Jones-Walker
  • Yehimi Cambron
  • Meghan Joyce
  • Hande Sever
  • Yuanlin/Poppy Xing
  • Erica Moorehead
  • Vylencia Morton
  • Gala Cude


2013 KIRK VISITING ARTIST: Katherine Taylor

KTclass2The Department of Art and Art History is honored that our 2nd Kirk Visiting Artist will be Katherine Taylor who received her BFA at the Atlanta college of Art and MFA from Georgia State University. Taylor contributes as Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University and participates in mentorship programs for emerging artists in Atlanta.

Twice featured in New American Paintings, her work is the topic for review in numerous books and publications including Art Papers, The Boston Globe and newly published Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views. Taylor’s paintings examine the visual relationships that mediate our experiences of disaster in the natural world. Her exhibitions include the Quebec City Biennale; The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center ; Diverseworks, Houston, TX; The Albany Museum of Art, Georgia; The Tubman Museum; Brenau University; and Marietta Cobb Museum of Art.

She is the recipient of a 2013 Vermont Studio Fellowship, and a 2012/13 WAP grant winner for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia with a solo exhibition at MOCA GA in November.  Her work “Deluge: Atlanta Flooding/ Roadway” is currently on view at the High Museum in Drawing Inside the Perimeter. Taylor is represented by Marcia Wood Gallery.


Taylor visited as a painting professor in 2011, and the 2012 seniors purchased one of her paintings for the Seniors Select works to distinguish their class in the College Permanent Art Collection. It currently hangs in Alston Student Center. She has also been represented in several of the Dalton Gallery exhibitions.

Lucky us!

Welcome Interim Gallery Director Jeffrey Whittle

jeffrey whittle - photoAgnes Scott is delighted to welcome Jeffrey Whittle who joins the staff this fall as the Interim Gallery Director of the Dalton Gallery.  He is a painter, educator and curator with roots in the South.

He served as the gallery director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art (LDSOA) from 2008 to 2013.

During his tenure at LDSOA, Whittle curated and co-curated a series of dynamic exhibitions including “Inside-Outside,” “SLOW,” “Duologues,” “PRAXIS,” “Physical/Metaphysical” and “RAW COLOR: Colour as a Medium,” which marked the debut exhibition of the Dutch design team in the United States. His curatorial projects and related programming are designed to spark dialogue and to act as a valuable resource that faculty may easily integrate into their pedagogy. Collaboration is central to his philosophy both within the gallery and in the classroom.

Whittle has taught studio art courses at the Atlanta College of Art, Cornell University, Northern Iowa University, University of Texas – Pan American, and at The University of Georgia. The core of his teaching philosophy lies in experimentation, practice, and learning to trust the self.

Whittle’s work has been exhibited internationally and he has received numerous accolades, including individual artist’s grants and residency awards. Last year his paintings were exhibited at Auburn University in a two-person exhibition with Dennis Harper, in the group show “META” in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in “America Here and Now,” curated by Eric Fischl.  In 2012, Whittle was a featured artist in 100 Under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art by The Oxford American.

Academic Degrees
B.F.A., University of Georgia
M.F.A., Cornell University

Appreciating 12 years with Lisa Alembik

1.threecolumnsThe Department of Art and Art History is sad to say goodbye to our colleague and friend, Lisa Alembik who has left her position as Director of the Dalton Gallery to teach full time and pursue her personal art career. It’s impossible to convey in writing the rich contributions of Lisa’s [1] creative service. In her twelve-year tenure at Agnes Scott, Lisa was an indefatigable creative force in curating, programming, mentoring, community building, and educating. Through her profound skill and knowledge of the power of a visual experience, Lisa created inventive, provocative and culturally relevant exhibitions that acted as object lessons for Agnes Scott’s mission to “educate women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.” Lisa received public critical acclaim for every professional exhibition she produced in the Dalton Gallery.
In her curatorial practice, Lisa creates multiple dialogues that provide accessible entry points and landing spots for all viewers, from the casual observer to the advanced researcher. My sweet sweet; still water; looking/longing; the possibility of framing infinity; gathering; limbs heart tongue and teeth: the poetic phrasings of the exhibition titles offer linguistic enticement into a carefully choreographed visual experience where Lisa constructs an aesthetic pathway for the viewer to interweave relationships between narratives and content, images and implications.
Her exhibitions are designed for reflective wandering and wondering. She is the undetectable guide, who deftly juxtaposes formal elements to highlight specific views–both physical and metaphysical—that call for closer attention. Her curatorial process mirrors an artist’s sensibility as the installation compels your body through the composed rooms the way your eye might glide across a good painting; sight lines are organizational, subtly forming the whole; texture and light tickle our senses and tease us through the space with the finesse of a sculptor.

But that’s not all.
Lisa’s dedication to education bubbled up everywhere during her years at Agnes Scott and lives on in the curriculum that she helped us build, and in the students she helped us educate. Her cultural arts programming for the gallery and the college at large was innovative, exciting, well informed, sophisticated and current, controversial, on topic and always, always engaging and educational. She was (and remains) a respected knowledge base for the students and her colleagues. She leaves behind a line up of original ventures that illustrate her dedication to examining the human condition through education in the visual arts. Her broad range of projects includes working relationships with local elementary schools, filmmakers, underrepresented communities, philosophers, folk artists, musicians, dancers, sports, politics, story-tellers, environmentalists, creative people who do not identify as artists, as well as to a long list of local, regional and national visual artists. Her work directly and respectfully addresses invisible and explicit power dynamics through examining our relationships to immigration, the environment, race tensions, gender and ethnicity inequities, and to violations and considerations of religious and political freedom. She has single-handedly shaped a first-rate, national reputation for Agnes Scott’s Dalton gallery.
We are grateful for the ways Lisa solidly grounded the exhibition space and guided the permanent collection. Thanks to Lisa’s direction, both provide foundational opportunities for experiential learning within all levels of the art and art history curriculum helping to form and fortify our current program. She laid the cornerstone of our major courses in the relatively new methods course and the senior capstones, in which students research works in the gallery and the college’s permanent collection for public presentations, and also connect to working artists. Several alumnae currently employed in galleries and museums attribute their professional interests directly to Lisa’s invested tutelage. As a natural educator, she sees every stage of her working process as a “teachable moment,” whether working with students to sand and paint walls, handle artwork, interview artists, approach galleries, conceive, design and install an exhibition, speak effectively to a non-art audience, write text for museums and even know the importance of a thank you note.
With an exacting aesthetic eye, long-term vision, a super power for making connections, and a rock-solid dedication to the role of the visual arts in expanding thinking, Lisa demonstrates consistently that it is part of her own character and mission to serve the arts in any way her large brain and creative spirit can imagine. We will miss her.

photo: TWMeyer

photo: TWMeyer

Nell Ruby, with Anne Beidler, Donna Sadler, and Katherine Smith

1. While professional practice suggests that an artist be referred to by her last name, we used her first name in this article in order to highlight the congenial nature of our working professional relationship.

Ten Questions for Artist Bethany Collins (created by Lola Clairmont)

By Lola Clairmont

Creative Agnes

Senior Select is a unique program sponsored by Agnes Scott’s Art and Art History Department that encourages graduating seniors to research works from the Art Papers annual auction for potential purchase for the college’s permanent collection. This year, the Class of 2013 seniors attended the auction and won the bid for Beige, 1951 by artist Bethany Collins. Collins agreed to an interview in her studio, and, included below, are ten questions from our conversation.

How would you describe the works in your Dictionaries series?

Oversized, erasures of dictionary definitions, in which the residual nature of language is allowed to remain in a way that competes with the original language.

What is your process for choosing these words?

The terms selected for the Dictionaries series have all been descriptors of blackness, and often more specifically biracialism—yellow, beige, half and half, half-breed, white-ish. They never quite get at the term or definition…

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“Your department wins!”


A note about our mad skills in use of available resources from our friendly Agnes Scott librarian. Thanks for noticing Casey!

I love this picture of all the books your department placed on reserve in the library this semester!  Thought you would too.  There are actually 17 books not included in this picture. We think your department might have utilized reserve the most.  Sorry, we have no prize to give.  Just respect for your use of scholarly resources. 🙂 I hope you are having a great summer! Casey”

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