The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

“An Influencer’s Influences” links three artists across centuries


The basement of Burling is known for its graffitied bathroom walls, but many don’t know that it is also home to the college’s Print and Media Room, which currently hosts an exhibit titled “An Influencer’s Influences: Callot, Goya, and Chagoya’s Interactions through Print Media.” The exhibit was curated by art history major and print room employee Sophie Wojdylo `22, featuring pieces from the College’s collection. 

 Prior to taking a job there, Wojdylo fell in love with the under-utilized print room as a first year after her Intro Art History class visited the space.  

 “I’m always hyping it up! You can come down and literally see any work on print that you want to see, we will pull it for you and you can look at it and just enjoy the space,” said Wojdylo. 

 Wojdylo knew she wanted to pursue curation and planned to register for the College’s exhibition seminar; unfortunately, the course was cancelled before she had a chance to take it. However, collections manager Jocelyn Krueger offered for Sophie to create the exhibit as part of her work in the print room. 

 “I like to give opportunities for students to do some kind of a project. It doesn’t always have to be an exhibit or a curated thing. It could be something that helps to build furniture or things that people design, things that help the print room function better, a research project about collections material or a way to restructure our database,” said Krueger. 

Art is precious for so many reasons, but I like how it’s not precious because of monetary value. It is precious because of how many stories can be told from this one object. – Sophia Wojdylo

 Wojdylo reached out to Krueger to begin her project in October 2021 and worked on the exhibit for the rest of the fall semester. She installed the exhibit the first week of the spring semester and it will remain up until spring break. 

Curating an exhibit proved to be a long and involved process including research, design and installation. 

 “I did not know the amount of work that would go into it but I really loved every single step of it. Because I have the art history background, I really do like research projects,” said Wojdylo. “I liked picking out all of the pieces that I could choose. It was really hard to narrow down my list.” 

 Wojdylo chose her pieces based off her art history background, starting with Francisco Goya, an artist whose work she interprets in her thesis and who she describes as her “main artist for all of [her] college years.” 

 “I chose his Disasters of War series and I looked at how that was influenced by Callot’s Large Miseries of War and how it influenced at the same time Chagoya’s stuff. And then for Chagoya’s work, I love how dark and funny he is. A lot of his work has a lot of satire in it and it’s comedic but it’s not lighthearted and funny, it’s still really rooted in the problems that we face today,” said Wojydlo. 

“I just like all the little connections, and how each artist takes it to a different level. I really enjoy how they’re interacting through such different time periods.” 

 Wojdylo cited Krueger as her biggest mentor throughout the process, stating that she provided her with the help and guidance she needed to learn how to pull off such an exhibit. 

She also received help from project archivist Laura Michelson and archivist/special collections librarian Chris Jones. They provided Wojdylo with the guidance, tools and support integral to the exhibit’s installation. 

 Wojdylo hopes to continue a career in museum work after Grinnell and is grateful for the curation experience this exhibit gave her. The College’s exhibition seminar will return next year, and ideally more students will be able to curate exhibitions like Wojdylo’s.  

 On pursuing curation, Wojdylo said, “Art is precious for so many reasons, but I like how it’s not precious because of monetary value. It is precious because of how many stories can be told from this one object. New perspectives come in, and we grow as a society and a culture. We can get new meanings from the art.”  

 “An Influencer’s Influences: Callot, Goya, and Chagoya’s Interactions through Print Media” will be on display through Mar. 13 in the Print and Media Room in the lower level of Burling Library.  

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Millie Peck
Millie Peck, Opinions Editor
Millie is a fourth-year English and psychology double major. Despite stewing on a witty bio for the better half of a year, she has failed to think of anything good, so will instead just lean into the fact that she is living the liberal arts dream: sharing a rainbow polka-dot house with seven roommates and a cat.  
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *