The WSU Department of Visual Arts has its own collection of art which serves as a vital teaching tool and is an integral part of the Department's curriculum in art. Like gallery exhibitions and lectures and workshops by visiting artists and historians, the collection provides students invaluable access to the real thing.
The collection study room (essential to any good college art program) is, like the gallery, a kind of laboratory, an extension of the classroom to which students come to study and analyze original works of art. The importance of the opportunity for art students to study original works cannot be overestimated. For while slides and reproductions are often sufficient for identification purposes in lectures, only original works can be used to teach the finer points which involves close inspection.
For example, reproductions often do not adequately represent the differences between screen and lithographic printing processes, and yet understanding these differences is important for students studying these techniques in studio courses. Providing exemplary works by well-known artists is essential, at the same time, in establishing high standards in studio courses. Original works are no less important for teaching courses in conservation and museum studies.
The proper handling, storage and care of works of art is also an important aspect of training for students interested in pursuing careers in curatorial professions in museums, schools, galleries, government archives and libraries.
The Department has in its collection works by Vito Acconci, William Allan, Binda Colebrook, John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Lothar Baumgarten, Christopher Gustin, Jun Kaneko, Luis Jimenez, Donald Judd, Deborah Turbeville, William T. Wiley, Bruce Nauman, Mark Perlman, Jack Lembeck, Norman Rockwell, Francesco Goya, Kathe Kolwitz, Clarence Morgan, Eugene Smith, Jessica Dunne, Shelagh Keeley, Edward Ruscha and Cindy Sherman among others.