A current student-curated exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts grew out of a poster for a giant telescope at Paris' 1900 Universal Exposition. Donated to the museum by Dr. Gabriel and Yvonne Weisberg, the advertisement features a fantastic, statuesque woman lowering a glowing moon toward a spellbound spectator. Like other advertisements from the time period, this poster promotes more than the featured product. It offers ways to leave one's everyday existence behind and enter a world of fun, fantasy and hedonism.
Called "A Means of Escape: European Posters from 1889 to 1930," the exhibition examines escapism in large-scale advertisements and focuses on three forms of diversion: fast transportation, reckless drinking and dazzling entertainment. While such activities carry an inherent appeal, an investigation of the historical context surrounding these works will also help to reveal what the public might have been trying to forget.
Guest curator Nikki Otten received her bachelor's in Professional Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota in 2006. She then worked at small ad agencies in London and Dublin and spent time in Sydney. The museums she visited whilst abroad heightened her interest in art and prompted her to pursue a career change.
Nikki enrolled in the University of Minnesota's History of Graphic Arts course taught by Professor Weisberg from an Internet cafe in France, and has continued taking undergraduate art history courses in preparation for graduate study in 2012.