Tisbury School students received an additional lesson in geography and art this week with the weeklong installation of the traveling exhibition Art Beyond Borders on the second floor of their building.
The exhibit is the brainchild of the International Museum of Twenty-First Century Art, and features 24 works of art from 24 different countries. The museum’s goal is to collect one piece of art from every country in the world to serve as an exhibition in itself; so far 63 countries have taken part.
Michael Ovios, who teaches art and shop at the school, spearheaded the effort to bring Art Beyond Borders to the Vineyard. The exhibit is part of an art enrichment program begun last year with six similar traveling installations, each featuring the works of artists ranging from Michelangelo to Thomas Hart Benton.
What makes Art Beyond Borders unique, Mr. Ovios said during an interview Tuesday morning, is that it “emphasizes and validates the idea that art is a universal language.”
Underscoring this point are the works themselves, which are not what could be considered “traditional” representations of their respective countries. Rather, they are contemporary pieces, infused with the styles of multiple schools of art. Traces of abstraction, Cubism and pop art are present alongside the more realist works.
“It gives children who live on an Island the opportunity to see a high-caliber art exhibition,” said Mr. Ovios.
The art itself is displayed on seven panels, arranged thematically according to the aims of the Beyond Borders project. Rather than being sorted by country or region, the pieces are displayed according to more broad concepts such as Imagine and Embracing Difference.
Art Beyond Borders is the first such display of the school year, but students can expect to see the return of Michelangelo — this time in a new exhibition featuring a 17-foot-long reproduction of the Sistine Chapel — in February, and by Gustav Klimt in April.
The exhibition moves to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School on Sept. 20, and to the Oak Bluffs School on Sept. 27. The public is invited to view Art Beyond Borders at any of its three locations.