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What’s happening at the ASU Art Museum this week: April 14 – 20, 2014

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the ASU Art Museum Brickyard Grand Opening reception last Friday! The Ceramics Research Center is thrilled to be in its new home, and we’re thankful for all of your support through this exciting and transitional time.

AMUSEUM_thisweek041414

Wednesday, April 16, 2014:

Noon – 1 p.m. in the Kresge Gallery at the ASU Art Museum — Marilyn Zeitlin, a well-known contemporary art curator and Latin American art specialist, returns to the ASU Art Museum to give a gallery talk on Rhythm and History. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/gallery-talk-stories-we-tell-ourselves-survive-marilyn-zeitlin

Friday, April 18, 2014:

Noon – 1 p.m. at the ASU Art Museum — curator Julio Cesar Morales discusses artist Eduardo Sarabia’s influences and the making of Moctezuma’s Revenge. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/brown-bag-lunch-series-julio-cesar-morales-moctezumas-revenge

As always, museum admission (at any location) is always free! For questions on hours, directions or programming, call 480.965.2787 or visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu.

Image credits, clockwise from left:

Los Carpinteros, Vecinos (Neighbors), 2005. Fiberglass, polyester resin, stainless steel, silicon, PVC, water pump, water filter, lighting and water. 42 1/8 x 60 1/4 x 60 1/4 in. Gift of Diane and Bruce Halle from the Thomarie Foundation. From Rhythm and History (2014).

Eduardo Sarabia, Happy, 2011. Oil on canvas. 55.9 x 78.34 inches. Courtesy the I-20/Judelson Collection, New York. From Moctezuma’s Revenge (2014).

Image courtesy of Marilyn Zeitlin.

Sandra Ramos, from the series Migrations II [Swimming under the Stars], 1994. Oil on suitcase. Overall: 19 1/2 x 25 x 17 in. Gift of the ASU Art Museum Advisory Board 100% Cuban Campaign. From Rhythm and History (2014).

April 14, 2014 at 5:27 pm 1 comment

What’s happening at the ASU Art Museum this week: April 7 – 13, 2014

Have you seen Moctezuma’s Revenge yet? If not, hurry — this amazing solo exhibition by artist Eduardo Sarabia closes in just three weeks. See the show that the Phoenix New Times calls “a punch you don’t see coming, one that lingers for a very long time,” before it closes on April 26.

AMUSEUM_thisweek040714

And, get your ceramics fix with two great events this week:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014:

6:30 p.m., in the Top Gallery at the ASU Art Museum — Curator of ceramics Peter Held leads a gallery tour of the wild and colorful world of MUCK. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/gallery-tour-curator-peter-held-muck

Friday, April 11, 2014:

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., (members and alumni preview from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.) at the ASU Art Museum Brickyard  — We’re celebrating the grand opening of our third location in the Phoenix –metro area, the ASU Art Museum Brickyard located at Mill Avenue and 7th Street in downtown Tempe. The Brickyard is the new home for the Ceramics Research Center, and we hope you’ll join us for this occasion! For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/asu-art-museum-brickyard-grand-opening

As always, museum admission (at any location) is always free! For questions on hours, directions or programming, call 480.965.2787 or visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu.

Image credits, clockwise from left: 

Muck: Accumulations, Accretions and Aggregations (2014). Image by Craig Smith.
Eduardo Sarabia. CODEX 2: Popocatepetl, 2013. Acrylic, india ink on paper, 22 in. x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist and Charpenel Collection. From Moctezuma’s Revenge (2014).
Marilyn Levine (1935-2006), Satchel, 1964. Ceramic, stained.
Rendering of potential signage at new ASU Art Museum Brickyard location on 7th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe. Image courtesy of the ASU Art Museum.

April 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

The Fearless Nature of Being: The Legacy of Don Reitz

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Peter Held, curator of ceramics at the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center. 

The ASU Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Don Reitz, an iconic ceramic artist and educator, on March 19.  He was 84 years old.  As a memorial tribute, the museum will unveil a selection of his work in the permanent collection at its new Brickyard facility for the location’s grand opening on April 11.

Reitz was a modern-day folk legend and larger than life.  As a master ceramicist, he produced new and exciting work with his innovative and adaptable practice, inspiring several generations of ceramic practitioners.  Despite advanced age, Reitz continued to push his artistic vision, inspiring a new generation of ceramic practitioners.

"Life is not a dress rehearsal; you only have one shot at it." — Don Reitz, August 20, 2011 Photo by Daniel Swadener.

“Life is not a dress rehearsal; you only have one shot at it.” — Don Reitz, August 20, 2011
Photo by Daniel Swadener.

Born at the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929, Reitz was affected by the harsh economic realities during his childhood.  Growing up during this difficult time in history, Reitz drew upon this wellspring of strength to make the most of any circumstance. Dyslexia and the disillusionment of academia, marital strife, and a near fatal accident made for, at times, a tumultuous life, but Reitz remained an eternal optimist, plowing through the fields of life with vim and vigor, undeterred by roadblocks.  “I’m a warrior, not a foot soldier,” he said in a recent interview.

Trained at Alfred University, the preeminent institution for advanced ceramic training, Reitz’s early work is marked by the design imperatives of the day: clean, simple pots with a solid grounding in technical knowledge and craftsmanship.  Following the lead of his teachers Robert Turner and Val Cushing, and fellow Alfred alumni Karen Karnes, Ken Ferguson and David Shaner, Reitz’s formative utilitarian pieces are marked by simplicity, symmetry and prevailing European modernist influences. While all four artists shared similar training, each found their own voices early in their distinguished careers.

Photo by Daniel Swadener.

Photo by Daniel Swadener.

At Alfred, Reitz began experimenting with salt-glaze, a technique largely neglected by the post World War II ceramic studio movement.  Readily embracing this firing technique, Reitz quickly realized that it allowed the clay to keep its natural character, and its malleability did not obscure the creator’s hand.  In a decade’s time, he was dubbed “Mr. Salt” by his peers.  Baroque pots with ornamental embellishments from this era of Reitz’s career are iconic within the field.

In Reitz’s career, he experienced his fair share of life’s unexpected twists and turns.  In 1982, he was hospitalized for several months due to multiple injuries suffered from an auto accident.  This experience was not only physically challenging, but also kept the artist from creating in his studio. Mentally and spiritually debilitated, the knowledge of his five-year-old niece Sara’s bout with cancer added to his misfortunes. Drawing as a means of rehabilitation, Sara and Reitz bolstered each other’s spirits. Inspired by the little girl’s freedom of form, line, and color, Reitz took to paint and paper in hand as a cathartic healing process, eventually returning to the studio to unleash a torrent of new work.  His “Sara Series,” is the result, a collection of covered jars and plates comprised of chalky pastels and vivid hues of red, yellow and blues, gouged with autobiographical drawings and noticeably divorced from his previous body of work.

In the mid-1980s, Reitz devoted more time to the wood firing process, due in part to his long association and friendship with Don Bendel, ceramics teacher at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.  Bendel invited the Japanese master kiln builder Yukio Yamamoto to build a Noborigama and Anagama kiln that continues to be part of the core program at the university. In successive years, Reitz worked through a number of visual forms through ceramics: Shields, Tea Stacks, Bag Forms, Punch-outs, Kachinas and Table Tops.

After his life-threatening heart surgery in 2007, the realities of his diminished physical stamina required new modes of working.  Reitz relied on studio assistants to make cylindrical shapes, which he then alters.  It provided a sense of freedom Reitz had never experienced until this moment in his long career. Reitz also wood fired in kilns around the country, and collaborated with a multitude of other artists.  Artist Chris Gustin writes of his friend that working together has been a gift that keeps giving: “We’ve spent countless hours at the wood kiln, firing, talking, eating, laughing and reminiscing. What drives it all is the work, the pots that we’re firing and the ones that have yet to be made. It’s a wonderful thing to be reminded of how lucky we are to work in clay.  Don’s generosity and spirit are contagious, and his energy is an incredible thing to be a part of,” he says.

Photo by Peter Held.

Photo by Peter Held.

It’s hard to imagine a more noteworthy artist who has been a mainstay in ceramics for the last six decades, retaining the defining attributes of a formidable artist: exceptional talent and skill, a highly disciplined work ethic, and unbridled enthusiasm with a world composed of subtle nuances and catastrophic events.  The trajectory of Reitz’s artistic career is inexplicitly woven into his personal life’s tidal movements, both tragic and joyous.  His recent work was a testament to the fearless nature of being Don Reitz, and this through constant reinvention and originality; he extended the definition and potential of the ceramic arts.  He will be sorely missed by legions of artists from around the United States and abroad.

Reitz’s obituary appeared in the New York Times on March 29:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/arts/design/don-reitz-who-made-dirt-and-salt-into-art-dies-at-84.html

 

 

April 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

What’s happening at the ASU Art Museum this week: March 31 – April 6, 2014

This Is Not America, Part III opens Saturday, April 5, 2014 in the Americas Gallery at the ASU Art Museum. The third in a three-part series of exhibitions looking at the intersection of art and social change, this exhibition is co-curated with ASU MFA students and focuses on the central themes of dominance and illusion. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/not-america-part-iii

Tuesday, April 1, 2014:

6 p.m., in the Kresge Gallery at the ASU Art Museum — Learn about issues of appropriation and fair use from Christine Steiner, an expert arts attorney from Los Angeles. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/appropriate-appropriation-fair-use-visual-arts

Thursday, April 3, 2014:

7:30 p.m., at the ASU Art Museum Brickyard — Hear from internationally renowned potter Linda Sikora as she gives this year’s Jan Fisher Memorial Lecture. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/linda-sikora-jan-fisher-memorial-lecture

Friday, April 4, 2014:

7 p.m. at Combine Studios Gallery in downtown Phoenix — Explore Pablo Helguera’s Librería Donceles with the curator, Julio Morales in this special First Friday event. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/gallery-tour-curator-julio-cesar-morales-librer%C3%ADa-donceles

Saturday, April 5, 2014:

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the ASU Art Museum — It’s time for First Saturdays for Families! This month, explore Echoes of Japan, hear a special performance from ASU School of Music students and use actual printmaking techniques to create your own masterpiece. For more info: https://asuevents.asu.edu/first-saturday-families-6

As always, museum admission (at any location) is always free! For questions on hours, directions or programming, call 480.965.2787 or visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu.

Image credits, clockwise from left:

Linda Sikora in her studio. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Pablo Helguera. “Librería Donceles,” 2013. (detail) Installation with books, works on paper, sound. Image courtesy of the artist and Kent Fine Arts.
Helen Hyde (1868-1919), “Cherry Blossom,” woodblock print. From Echoes of Japan (2014).
Pablo Guardiola, “Untitled,” 2007. Digital C-print, 20 x 30 in. Image courtesy of the artist. From This Is Not America, Part III (2014).

 

 

 

March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

‘MUCK’ showcases new trends in ceramic art, opens Feb. 15 at the ASU Art Museum

MUCK: Accumulations, Accretions and Aggregations,” featuring the art of seven contemporary ceramic sculpture artists, opens at the ASU Art Museum Feb. 15, 2014. The exhibition, curated by Peter Held, will feature more than 20 works of art from both previous and new bodies of work by Susan Beiner, Nathan Craven, Michael Fujita, David Hicks, Annabeth Rosen, Meghan Smythe and Matt Wedel.

On view in the Top Gallery at the ASU Art Museum’s 10th Street and Mill Avenue location through May 31, 2014, “MUCK” will showcase sculpture that pushes the boundaries of both technical virtuosity and arresting visual sculpture.

Each artist in the exhibition creates work that deals with incorporating a diversity of objects to create a cohesive whole, says Held. The artists in “MUCK” combine potent elements of labor, scale, material and the innate sensuality of clay and glaze to address concerns of environmental peril and searching for a humanistic balance in a seemingly all-consuming technological culture.

Matt Wedel, “Flower Tree,” 2013. Glazed ceramic, 17 x 17 x 16 in.  Image courtesy of the artist and L.A. Louver, Venice, Calif.

Matt Wedel, “Flower Tree,” 2013. Glazed ceramic, 17 x 17 x 16 in.
Image courtesy of the artist and L.A. Louver, Venice, Calif.

“United by their visually stunning work, the artists presented in ‘MUCK’ invoke pure joy in the medium, creating order from chaos while confronting issues of personal growth and transformation,” Held explains. “Whether using repetitive shapes to create patterns or assembling a multiplicity of objects metaphorically, their work reflects upon the natural world and human condition and our place within it.”

RELATED PROGRAMS

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Feb. 14, 2014, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. (with a members, alumni and press preview from 5:30–6:30 p.m.).  In addition, curator Peter Held will give a gallery tour of the exhibition and lecture on April 8, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

CREDIT

“MUCK: Accumulations, Accretions and Aggregations” is curated by Peter Held, generously supported by the Helme Prinzen Endowment, Joan and David Lincoln and members of Ceramic Leaders at ASU, and organized by the ASU Art Museum, part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.

February 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center relocating

In preparation for its upcoming relocation, the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center’s current location – on the northwest corner of 10th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe – will permanently close to the public on Feb. 3.

The relocation, expected to be completed by mid-March, will move the center’s existing collection, storage, library and gallery space into a newly remodeled space on the ground floor of the Brickyard at Mill, located at 7th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe, where it will reopen as the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Center & Brickyard Gallery.

“The museum is excited to now also be amidst the movement and energy of the Mill Avenue district, and we are planning on a presence that will build on and be enhanced by the already vibrant downtown Tempe scene,” said Gordon Knox, ASU Art Museum director.

Rendering of potential signage at new ASU Art Museum Brickyard location on 7th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe.  Image courtesy of the ASU Art Museum.

Rendering of potential signage at new ASU Art Museum Brickyard location on 7th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe.
Image courtesy of the ASU Art Museum.

The new location, three blocks north of the existing Ceramics Research Center, will provide the museum with additional space, a more flexible floor plan and an opportunity to capture an expanded audience within the heavily trafficked Mill Avenue retail district.

“Given the necessity of relocating the Ceramics Research Center due to the planned development in Tempe Center, I’m extremely pleased that ASU found us such a great location in the heart of downtown Tempe,” said Peter Held, ASU Art Museum curator of ceramics. “The new space allows us to expand our capabilities to serve students and the public, and to grow our audience base. This move will act as a catalyst to propel the center’s programming into the future.”

The Ceramics Research Center has been a national and international destination point for the hands-on study and enjoyment of ceramics since its opening in March 2002. The center, which houses and displays the ASU Art Museum’s extensive ceramic collection of close to 4,000 pieces, serves as a key educational component of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts through its teaching and research facilities.

The ASU Art Museum Brickyard will be the museum’s third presence in the Phoenix-metro area, alongside the existing ASU Art Museum at 10th Street and Mill Avenue, on ASU’s Tempe Campus, and the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program, located in downtown Phoenix at Combine Studios.

Construction is currently underway at the new ASU Art Museum Ceramics Center & Brickyard Gallery, which will open its inaugural exhibition on March 21, with “Librería Donceles,” an installation by artist Pablo Helguera. Grand opening and programming details will be made available by early March.

Juno Schaser, juno.schaser@asu.edu
480.965.0014
Public Relations | ASU Art Museum

February 3, 2014 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

In the News: American Craft Council names ASU Art Museum exhibition in Top 10 of 2013

In their annual look back at the most noteworthy trends, events and exhibitions of the past year, the American Craft Council highlighted the “Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft” exhibition at the Arizona State University Art Museum as one of the most monumental of 2013.

“Involving many years of research, staff dedication, and cross-institutional collaboration,” the exhibition is mentioned alongside others from institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C.

The American Craft Council (ACC) is a national nonprofit educational organization founded in 1943 that promotes “understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft.” They publish the bimonthly magazine American Craft, which is one of the most highly regarded publications in the field of craft.

 “Crafting a Continuum,” which was on view from Sept. 7, 2013 through Dec. 7, 2013, was a presentation of the ASU Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and was the museum’s first comprehensive exhibition to highlight its extensive craft holdings, including new international acquisitions in wood, ceramics and fiber. The exhibition and accompanying programming was made possible with generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Nancy Tieken and Joanne and Jim Rapp.

Del Harrow, “Cabinet #3,” 2012. Ceramic, luster, wood. Photo: Craig Smith.

Del Harrow, “Cabinet #3,” 2012. Ceramic, luster, wood. Photo: Craig Smith.

The accompanying catalog for the exhibition was edited by curators Peter Held and Heather Sealy Lineberry and contains a foreword from museum director Gordon Knox, as well as essays from some of the top thinkers in contemporary craft. It is available at the ASU Art Museum store; call 480.965.9076 for details. 

Beginning in January 2014, “Crafting a Continuum” is travelling nationally to five additional venues: the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Wash., the Boise Art Museum in Boise, Idaho, the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art in Ft. Wayne, Ind., the Nora Eccles Museum of Art at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Houston, Texas. 

For the full article on the American Craft Council’s website, visit: http://craftcouncil.org/post/year-craft-10-noteworthy-trends-events

January 9, 2014 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Crafting Your Weekend: Art, Craft and Fun at the ASU Art Museum

We’re sure you’ve all been eagerly wondering since the start of the school semester, ”When is the ASU Art Museum going to have another awesome art party? And when are all their cool new shows going to open?”

Well, wait no longer, for the time has come! Hope you’re resting up this weekend, because we’ve got a full schedule lined up next weekend, Sept. 26-28 at the ASU Art Museum, and we want to see your faces there.

If you’re looking for something to do between now and Sept. 26, both Christine Lee and Del Harrow will be in the Museum creating site-specific works for the Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft show.

Lee detail

Christine Lee, “Piece by Piece,” 2013 (detail). Wooden shims, graphite.
Photo: Elizabeth Kozlowski.

Christine Lee started today and will be working through Sept. 26. She’s become a part of our community over the past couple of years as a Windgate visiting artist; she has taught in the School of Art and lived at Combine. She studied furniture making with the legendary Wendy Maruyama, whose show opens at the Museum on the 26th, and takes an innovative approach to working with wood. And ceramic artist Del Harrow will be installing in our lobby from Sept. 24-26, adding to Cabinet #3 (2012).

Harrow

Del Harrow, “Cabinet #3,” 2012. Ceramic, luster, wood. Photo: Craig Smith.

Here’s a rundown of all the happenings and can’t-miss events that we’ve got planned for the weekend of the big opening:

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013: Kick off the weekend with what’s sure to be a great lecture from an internationally renowned artist. Jessica Jackson Hutchins will be at the ASU-Tempe campus as a featured speaker for the Jan Fisher Memorial Lecture Series, which brings established and emerging women ceramicists to the Phoenix community.

Hutchins, who currently lives and works in Portland, Ore., makes reference to everyday rituals and family life in her work, whichplaces her in the rich tradition of artists who combine the personal and the cultural. In her assemblage sculpture, she teases out notions of function and display by creating richly glazed vessels and locating them on top of or inside used furniture, such as armchairs, couches and tables, or balancing them on plinths of her own devising.

The lecture will be held in COOR 174 and begins at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. A reception with the artist will follow at the Ceramics Research Center.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins, "Venus," 2013. Photo: Nick Ash. Courtesy the artist and Laurel Gitlen, New York.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins, “Venus,” 2013. Photo: Nick Ash. Courtesy the artist and Laurel Gitlen, New York.

Friday, Sept. 27, 2013: Visual artist and Arizona native Paul Nosa joins the ASU Art Museum for a  two-day sewing performance with his Solar Sewing Rover, a portable sewing machine powered by a solar panel or a bicycle with an electric generator. Nosa will create original images, which are machine sewn on fabric patches, using word associations provided by our guests. Nosa’s goal is to inspire people’s creativity and to demonstrate alternative energy sources through his performances. This performance is co-sponsored by the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU.

Nosa will perform twice on Friday: from noon-1:30 p.m., in the GIOS Breezeway and again from 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the ASU Art Museum front entrance. His second performance will kick start the fall season opening reception, which we’d like to think of as Tempe’s art celebration of the season. The party is from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., with a special member’s preview at 5:30 p.m. Full details here: https://asuevents.asu.edu/season-opening-reception-fall-2013

Image: Paul Nosa,"Glow-in-the-dark piano on fire." Courtesy of the artist.

Image: Paul Nosa,”Glow-in-the-dark piano on fire.” Courtesy of the artist.

When you’re in the museum for the reception, you’ve got a lot to check out, and you don’t want to miss any of it. Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft, Wendy Maruyama: Executive Order 9066 and This Is Not America: Protest, Resistance, Poetics are all new and on view. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to duck into the Multi-Purpose Room for Plate Silk Stone: Impressions by Women Artists from the ASU Art Museum Print Collection to see a show co-curated by one of ASU’s undergraduate students and research interns, Emma Ringness.

Wendy Maruyama, "Tag Project," full installation view at San Diego State University. Paper, string and ink. Each approximately 11’ x 2’ in diameter, 2012. Photo credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki.

Wendy Maruyama, “Tag Project,” full installation view at San Diego State University. Paper, string and ink. Each approximately 11’ x 2’ in diameter, 2012. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki.

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013: Don’t stay too late at the Museum having fun on Friday, because the day starts bright and early at COOR 174 with the “Flashback Forward: Rethinking Craft” Symposium, which will explore and discuss critical issues facing the field of contemporary craft.  Our keynote speaker is Jenni Sorkin, with a presentation by Guest of Honor Wendy Maruyama, and lectures by artists Garth Johnson, Christine Lee, Del Harrow and Erika Hanson. There’s too much cool stuff (and it’s all free!) happening to list here, but you can view the full schedule, as well as RSVP, for Saturday’s symposium on the event page: https://asuevents.asu.edu/flashbackforward-rethinking-craft-symposium

And, if you missed him on Friday – or just can’t get enough of Paul Nosa — he’s back again on Saturday with another performance from noon – 2 p.m. in the COOR breezeway.

Whew! What a weekend! We can’t wait. And while you’re out enjoying yourselves, don’t forget to tweet and Facebook us your photos.

Jarbas Lopes, "Cicloviaéra," 2006. Osier (natural fiber vine) over bicycle. Photo by Craig Smith.

Jarbas Lopes, “Cicloviaéra,” 2006. Osier (natural fiber vine) over bicycle. Photo by Craig Smith.

September 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm Leave a comment

Self-described “printmaking nerd” finds paradise and a perspective shift at the ASU Art Museum

Print Room 2

ASU student intern Emma Ringness at work in the Jules Heller Print Study Room at the ASU Art Museum, Spring, 2013.

ASU School of Art senior Emma Ringness, who will graduate this December with a degree in printmaking, worked with ASU Art Museum curator Jean Makin to put together the exhibition Plate • Silk • Stone: Impressions by Women Artists from the ASU Art Museum Print Collection, which is on view at the Museum through Dec. 8.

In these figurative prints selected from the permanent collection, women artists take on social and domestic issues, as well as themes of history, culture and identity. For more information about the show, click here.

Here’s a post from Emma about her experience working on Plate • Silk • Stone:

For printmaking nerds like myself, there is no denying the thrill of sitting down to work next to a famous print by the French satirical printmaker Honoré Daumier, or viewing Roy Lichtenstein’s interpretation of the Oval Office on a daily basis.

But enough with the nerdiness: Last year I had the pleasure of serving as a research intern in the ASU Art Museum’s Jules Heller Print Study Room under its director, Jean Makin. This glorious place is home to the museum’s print collection (including that Daumier and Lichtenstein), and is heaven for print nerds and art appreciators alike.

As part of my internship, my job was to curate an exhibition of prints by women artists in the collection. This meant going through the many drawers and cabinets in which the collection is stored and getting hands-on with prints from the 16th century to today. It was a humbling experience, and for the first time made me feel connected to something bigger than myself as an artist: both to a long line of female printmakers, and to a cultural discourse in which I am a participant.

Through the process of handling the work, selecting pieces for the show, researching and writing about the artists, I was also given a perspective other than that of the creator — of someone who maintains artwork for future generations. I now fully understand the long-term care and storage required by the print medium, as well as the amount of time and energy invested by museum professionals and art historians to research and share with the public the history and social relevance of work created through the print processes. This perspective shift has, in turn, altered my approach as a creator. The beauty of having an institution like the ASU Art Museum is that this unique learning experience was available to me on campus, and during my undergraduate education — rather than during graduate school or beyond.

I am so grateful to Jean Makin for giving me this opportunity, and to the many people who make the museum’s collection available to the public on a regular basis.

–Emma Ringness

June 28, 2013 at 7:03 pm 1 comment

Let there be light — and dark: “Turn off the Sun” at the ASU Art Museum

tos 7

Each piece in the exhibition Turn off the Sun, on view at the ASU Art Museum through Sept. 7, packs tremendous heat, power and impact. Drawn from La Colección Jumex in Mexico City, an incredible private contemporary art collection of about 2,600 works, Turn off the Sun displays two dozen of these searingly honest and beautiful pieces. This is only the second time that any of the Jumex collection has been shown in the United States.

The exhibition title did not come about from a concentrated brainstorm though, but rather from joking about the weather. During Jumex director Patrick Charpenel and curator Michel Blancsubé’s site visit to the ASU Art Museum in the summer of 2012, the two started an ongoing joke about how someone needs to “turn off the sun.” When curator Julio César Morales joined the staff in the fall and heard it, he pointed out how that’s not necessarily a joke—that’s a great name.

“When I heard this phrase, I thought it was a brilliant title, and the more it was discussed by myself and Heather Sealy Lineberry, the more we thought the title really connected with artworks in the exhibition and addressed ideas of site, adaptability and physical displacement,” Morales said.

ASU Art Museum senior curator and associate director Heather Sealy Lineberry said the museum staff became interested in the social and political implications of brining the contemporary art collection from Mexico to Arizona and how the content of the work would shift just by the very nature of having it here.

The artworks address several types of issues between Mexico and the United States, among them borders, landscape, lines, labor, politics, economics, faith and awareness.

One example is “Cuando La Fe Mueve Montañas” (“When Faith Moves Mountains”) by Francis Alÿs, a conceptual performance artist. In the multimedia installation, the artist has a group of people move a mountain with shovels to create a line, like a curious border. Another is “Security Fence” by Liza Lou, which explores dark psychological spaces of violence and confinement. Santiago Sierra’s artwork “3000 holes of 180 x 50 x 50 cm each” is a triptych of three photographs and a performance piece that he created while in southern Spain, looking across to North Africa where many immigrants come into Spain. On video Sierra highlights matters of struggle and immigration by showing the 3,000 shoveled holes, mostly dug by Senegalese and Moroccan day workers over the course of a month with a Spanish foreman overseeing the labor.

“These three pieces pulled at our imagination and were tremendous anchors for what we wanted to do with the exhibition,” Lineberry said.

tos 22

liza lou smaller by craig smith

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In an interview with San Francisco Arts Quarterly, Blancsubé also explained, “I generally don’t choose a theme and then look for artworks to sustain or feed it… I am seduced by artworks and imagine funny games between them. The theme or the discourse comes after or during the construction, and in a way it is suggested by the artworks themselves.”

Along with the choosing of the exhibition title, another unexpected aspect of Turn off the Sun is that there are no labels next to the pieces. Instead, there is printed material at the entrance of every gallery space that includes technical information, biographies and further text about the artistic process of all the artworks. This allows people who want to make their own relationships with the work to have that possibility. With each exhibition, the museum experiments with how to provide information for the visitor, and different kinds of exhibitions warrant different information systems.

Blancsubé said the information related to the artworks is accessible for curious visitors, “but not having plaques plugged on the wall near the artworks allows visitors to have a first approach of the artworks on their own without receiving from the beginning glasses that oriented their viewing.”

“We thought the design and artworks look so clean and beautifully installed that labels would interrupt the artwork itself,” Morales said. “I was more interested in the audience having a visceral experience of the work and engaging with it without any other materials to distract from that experience.”

Though some visitors are more comfortable with text panels, many are pleasantly surprised and enjoy the practice of making their own connections with the works.

Lineberry said she sees people relating to the artworks and broadening their thoughts about the border: “I think a lot of people are coming away with a pretty amazing experience of the works individually and the process of piecing them together as a narrative in their minds.”

–Mary Grace Richardson

Images, from top: “Overpass,” by Jeff Wall; “Cuando La Fe Mueve Montañas” (“When Faith Moves Mountains”), by Francis Alÿs; “Security Fence,” by Liza Lou, and “3000 holes of 180 x 50 x 50 cm each,” by Santiago Sierra. All photos by Craig Smith.

June 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm 2 comments

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