Crooked frames, vandalized photographs, unlabeled prints and cracked glass—this describes the current condition of a noticeable portion of the artwork that adorns Baruch College’s Newman Vertical Campus, according to one Baruch student.
Last month, the student, a sophomore who wishes to remain anonymous, began the Instagram account @fixartbaruch in order to draw awareness to how “Baruch College’s art is hung, displayed, and explained (or not),” according to the account’s description. Each post features a photograph of the offending artwork, a description of the issue and the general location of the artwork.
“I mainly want explanatory text. I want to know the artist, I want to know the year pieces were made and I want to know a little bit about it and why it’s in our school,” they said. The Ticker has opted to refer to the student using plural pronouns wherever possible in order to preserve anonymity.
According to the student, some of the more egregious examples of poorly displayed artwork can be found on the third floor; the fourth floor, where there is at least one frame with cracked glass; and on the fifth floor, where a frame holding a Keith Haring work is scuffed and cracked, among other examples. Several of these issues are documented on the @fixartbaruch account.
However, the student also noted that they have yet to document what they feel to be the most glaring issue concerning Baruch’s artwork.
“I want to emphasize that an overarching issue that I have not tackled on the Instagram account because I don’t even know where to start: no labels on like three quarters of the work,” they said in an interview with The Ticker. “We don’t need three paragraphs on the piece. Look at any museum and at what they have. That’s what we should be treating the art as.”
The student also made clear that not all the artwork at Baruch is displayed poorly.
“Some work is hung really well. Some stuff looks really good. I think on the fourth or fifth floor, there’s stuff with labels, it says the artist. It’s beautiful, beautiful stuff,” they said.
A spokesperson for Baruch’s Buildings and Grounds department stated that the department was responsible for hanging artwork within the NVC, but is not responsible for fixing or maintaining the artwork.
In the event of vandalism, Baruch’s Public Safety is contacted to investigate.
“We don’t adjust it. We don’t touch that. I’ve never even heard of us adjusting or even opening up any picture frames. We hang stuff the way they are,” the spokesperson said.
As of press time, Baruch’s Facilities Planning, Design and Construction did not reply to a call for comment.