Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft
January 23 - April 18, 2015
Including over 60 three-dimensional objects from the Arizona State University Art Museum's permanent collection and recent acquisitions, as well as works by many of the major and emerging figures in contemporary crafts, this exhibition and its accompanying catalog provide an international perspective on modern and contemporary crafts highlighting innovative experimentation with this ancient medium. Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft is organized by the Arizona State University Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, Arizona, and curated by Associate Director and Senior Curator Heather Sealy Lineberry and Curator of Ceramics Peter Held with assistance from Windgate Curatorial Fellow Elizabeth Kozlowski.
Black Mountain College: Shaping Craft + Design
August 25, 2014 - February 28, 2015
Featuring a selection of works by Black Mountain College (BMC) faculty and students, Black Mountain College: Shaping Craft + Design explores the role and influence of the college on the fields of studio craft and design from the middle of the 20th century through today. Black Mountain College (1933 - 1957) was an experimental liberal arts college located in the rural mountains of North Carolina. The College was not designated as an "art school" as we understand them today, but from the beginning, the centrality of the arts at BMC offered students and faculty an array of opportunities to collaborate and explore various disciplines. This traveling exhibition was originally organized by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center and is adapted to incorporate works from the NEHMA permanent collection, demonstrating the national influence of the College. This exhibition is made possible by support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.
Relational Forms: Robert Bliss and Anna Campbell Bliss
August 25, 2014 - February 28, 2015
Relational Forms highlights select furniture pieces designed by architect, Robert Bliss presented with intricate, two-dimensional artwork by Anna Campbell Bliss. The Bliss' moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1963 and have been influential figures in the art and design communities throughout the country. Robert Bliss was educated at Black Mountain College and MIT. He had a successful career as an architect in Minnesota before moving to Salt Lake City where he worked at the University of Utah as head of the Department of Architecture and later as Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture. Robert's concern for architectural education, city planning, and preserving the environment continues to this day as he participates in local and national committees dedicated to historic building preservation and maintaining the constructed heritage of local communities. Robert's furniture reflects modern designs emphasizing practicality without compromising a minimalist style.
Anna Campbell Bliss earned degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard studying math, art history, and architecture. Her paintings and prints displayed in this exhibition show a bridge of connection between these subjects and the more contemporary influence of computer science. Her precise screen-prints show her fascination with the complex relationships of color, geometry, pattern, and repetition. This exhibition is only the second time the work of this couple has been shown together, and it is presented in conjunction with Black Mountain College: Shaping Craft + Design displayed in the Caine Gallery.
Featuring photographs from the permanent collection, this series aims to assist students in envisioning American cities and landscapes as Sal Paradise, Jack Kerouac's protagonist in his Beat novel On the Road, may have seen them. This selection of photos is created in conjunction with the USU fall 2014 course, History 3770: Contemporary America, 1945 - Present taught by Dr. Victoria Grieve.
With artworks from the NEHMA permanent collection and works on loan from a number of museums and private collectors, this exhibition explores the role of the American West as a site for rebirth and enchantment, specifically through artists and composers who explored the visionary interpretations of the landscape in visual or musical forms inspired by Theosophical ideas. Curated by a group of international scholars, selected works convey local and regional connections to Theosophically-inspired artists and musicians while also placing them within the international network of enchanted culture that flourished in the early 20th century.
So what is Theosophy? While its roots go back thousands of years, beginning from the 1500s forward, it has generally been associated with the practices of using knowledge and observations of nature and one's self as a way to understand the divinity in nature both physically and metaphysically.
Nobody Goes Home Sad includes historical photographs by Walter Lehrman and John Suiter showing intimate portraits of trailblazing poets and authors from the Beat generation of the 1950s. Some of the poets featured in this exhibition are Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, and Philip Whalen. These men are shown in rare photographs attending parties, sitting for impromptu portrait paintings, and giving public readings of their work. Collaborating with the Special Collections and Archives Department in the USU Merrill-Cazier Library, the art museum presents a number of black and white photos that give a glimpse into the life of these great figures of 20th century literature. Also included in the exhibition are original publications of work by these men and background information on their lives and inspiration.
A selection of artworks from the NEHMA permanent collection embraces a diverse range of forms and showcases work by important women artists. Rather than representing a certain artistic style or focusing on specific subjects depicted by women, this exhibition features a variety of styles and subjects. Included are representations of the female form, critiques of the objectification of the female body, and experiments with total abstraction. Highlights include posters by the Guerilla Girls, an installation piece by Ilene Segalove, photography from the second wave of feminism, and minimalist drawings and paintings.
Throughout the 20th century, primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, artists have used light as a medium or subject matter. Several large pieces in this exhibition focus on artists featured in the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions from Los Angeles who are considered to be the leaders of the light and space art movement of the 1970s. The artists in this exhibition bring up philosophical issues about how the brain perceives the world, and these artworks expand the ideas of what materials are actually considered to be art. At the same time, the works installed in LUX create enchanting experiences of color, shadow, and shape that can surely entertain all ages. The exhibition also includes one of the most significant artworks in the museum's collection: a Plexiglas disc installation by Robert Irwin.
Located in the Study Center drawers, this exhibition is composed of work by Harrison Groutage, Everett Thorpe, and Gaell Lindstrom. On February 5 of 2013, Harrison Groutage passed away at age 87 of kidney failure. Those who knew him said he was adventurous and saw beauty in everything. Friends of the Landscape is partially a commemoration of him and his artistic legacy at Utah State University. All three of these artists are former USU faculty and are known for their emotive paintings of Utah terrain. The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art is proud to hold this fine collection of creative and beautiful landscapes. Tied together by their love of Utah scenery as well as art education, Groutage's, Thorpe's, and Lindstrom's works complement each other and emphasize the inner complexity of a simple landscape.
New Acquisitions 2013
June 21 - December 10, 2013
Nine works of art are displayed in the upper gallery from a 2013 donation to the art museum by the late Joe Austin. These artworks are avante garde pieces from the 1970s and 1980s by artists working in the Los Angeles area and include an early painting by Lari Pittman. Beginning in 2005, Joe Austin gave a number of important works to the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. He died in March 2013 in Los Angeles at the age of 74. Mr. Austin donated modern and contemporary artworks by Alison Saar, Charles Gaines, Dewain Valentine, and Peter Shire among others. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he was a successful attorney and a passionate supporter of the visual arts throughout his life. This exhibition shows the various works of art Mr. Austin had throughout his Los Angeles home and represent a unified visual style that is colorful and unexpected. To learn more about this important benefactor, see his obituary in the L.A. Times by clicking on this link: Joe Austin Obituary.
Industrial Ethos: Photography by Chris Dunker
February 1 - May 4, 2013
Northern Utah-based photographer, Chris Dunker presents 21 selections of his work in the exhibition Industrial Ethos. These photographs address the culture of industry and how industry appears over time. Dunker's fascination with urban decay provides a dystopian look at the modern, optimistic attitude of industry and manufacturing that has marked the progress and historical significance of northern Utah. Also included in the exhibition are antique books and photographs from Dunker's personal collection that document some of the earliest industrial breakthroughs such as steam turbines and generators. Certain industries, local to Cache Valley and the northern Utah region, are featured in this exhibition including ICON Health and Fitness, Thermo Fisher, Nucor Steel, and Sirtec Plastics.
USU students in the Fall 2012 course, Art History 5730: The Art Museum were offered the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the curator of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art to explore the meanings of Conceptual Art. This workshop-style course engaged the students in the history of the Conceptual Art movement on the west coast that began in the 1960s and continued into the 1990s. The students had reading assignments, group discussions, and even a hands-on investigation of certain art objects in the museum's collection. This exhibition is the result of the students' research and creative cooperation to present the wide array of Conceptual Art forms and meanings by including artwork from a variety of conceptual artists who created art primarily as an outlet for their ideas. The exhibition illustrates enlightening juxtapositions of conceptual artwork that have never been seen together. A catalog is available with the exhibition that contains each student's research and an in-depth analysis for most of the pieces on display. During the exhibition opening, the students involved in the curatorial process spoke about the artworks they researched and about conceptual art in general.
“Conceptual Art rarely resembles traditional art objects,” museum curator Deb Banerjee noted. "Conceptual artists often felt their idea would come first and then the form or media would follow that best fit their idea."
Shown in conjunction with the 11th Biennial Jack London Society Symposium held in Logan, Utah and co-sponsored by the USU Department of English and the USU Special Collections Department in the Merrill - Cazier Library, Adventures in the West features majestic landscape photographs by American photo giants such as Ansel Adams and Brett Weston. The symposium was held October 4-6, 2012, but this exhibition is on display in the museum's upper gallery throughout the entire fall 2012 semester. The exhibition explores the rugged, historical, and dangerous qualities of the western world portrayed in Jack London's writing. Certain drawings and photographs in this exhibition are on display in the museum for the first time, and they help explore literary themes of naturalism, courage, modern American values, and man's precarious relationship to his natural environment.
Jim Starrett is an L.A.-based artist who explores concepts of religion, heritage, and the clash of differing historical interpretations. Fragments of Terror provides a rare opportunity to introduce many significant works by this artist to the USU community. With 27 paintings and drawings on display, this exhibition shows how Starrett's works, "...vibrate with such cool passion, such fiery ice, that they seem at once both hard products of a systematic rationality, of an almost mechanical design, and works of extraordinary emotional resonance...", - Patrick E. White.
Sisyphe by Jean-Pierre Hébert
October 2011 - February 2013
This mysterious installation is a recent acquisition for the art museum. Sisyphe creates numerous geometric drawings in a frame of sand through the use of a moving, metal ball. The drawings are created by a magnetic motorized apparatus connected to a computer which controls the movement of the ball. Both mesmerizing and modern, this installation explores the boundless possibilities of combining art and technology.
Bang! Thwack! Plop!
Comics: an Influence on Contemporary Art
June 14, 2011 - July 28, 2012
Art and comics have a complex relationship. This exhibition explores that relationship by featuring the intersection of comics and art with specific attention on how certain themes and stylistic forms have crossed over from the genre of comics into the world of visual art. Many professional artists have drawn and/or published comics and even worked in a cartoon style while others have used actual comics as material for their assemblages or collages. The exploding popularity of comics, mostly through animation and graphic novels, shows us that the graphic, or comic, impulse has become a compelling means of artistic communication. Bang! Thwack! Plop! points toward a growing interdisciplinary trend in the arts that allows for a flow of ideas between media and form, creating a liberation of high art. This exhibition opened in mid June of 2011 and is on display in the museum's upper gallery with the official opening reception held on October 31st, 2011.
In order to highlight a selection of the museum's recently acquired artwork, a new exhibition was made available in the summer of 2011 named New Acquisitions featuring 6 new artworks in the west gallery marking their first time on display in the museum. This small exhibition includes photography, sculpture, drawings, and painting including a waterfall mural and a seductive, enlarged shoe. This exhibition provides a great opportunity to see what kinds of art, and what kinds of artists, are currently gaining business and recognition in the professional art world. Instead of traveling to Los Angeles or New York City, you can see some important artworks right here.
As a celebration of this distinctive feature on USU campus, the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art presents an exhibition about this sculpture; its history, innovation, construction, and creation. This exhibition includes schematic drawings, a model of the sculpture, and installation photographs by distinguished architectural photographer, Grant Mudford. This exhibition is in the museum's Study Center gallery and is displayed in conjunction with the first annual Celebrate the Arts Week for Utah State University's new Caine College of the Arts.
2008 - 2010 Exhibitions
Whether they are radical or practical ideas, many artists have envisioned alternative ways of living. EcoVisionaries includes socially engaged artists (the Harrisons and Ant Farm) who seek out and propose radical concepts of living that avoid damaging the natural world. By using unusual materials, or unusual methods, the works displayed for this exhibition create innovations that reduce the impact of humans or preserve natural environments.
The photos in this exhibition are part of USU professor Christopher M. Gauthiér’s series, Evidence and Artifacts: Particle Matter 2.5 which explores the air quality in Cache Valley. Gauthiér’s photographs were made in the midst of ice, fog, and inversion, a natural and man-made regional weather phenomenon in which beauty and toxicity combine. "Development, manufacturing, transportation, pollution, and agriculture all contribute to the growing problem of air quality," Gauthiér said. Through his photography, Gauthiér documents both the cause and effect of the growing air pollution problem in Cache Valley during the coldest days of the year, giving special attention to the issue of particulate matter.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or PM, as a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. And, the EPA continues, the size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Exposure to such particles can affect both the lungs and heart. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems because they can get deep into lungs, and some even into the bloodstream, according to the EPA website.
The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University has received a major gift of 31 new works from the Kathryn C. Wanlass Foundation and Marie Eccles Caine Foundation. The new works are on display as part of the revamped exhibition Uses of the Real, Part 2, an exhibition that explores what constitutes art in today’s world.
Newly remodeled gallery spaces have also allowed the museum staff to bring out the collection in a way not experienced before. Walls have been knocked down and new display fixtures have been installed to allow approximately 500 more objects to be put on display, including more than 100 photographs and 250 ceramic works usually kept in storage and inaccessible to the public.
“We hope the next time our visitors walk through the galleries they will be as delighted as we are because many of their favorite objects are now out of storage and available to enjoy,” said museum director Victoria Rowe Berry. The newly revised and newly installed exhibition of Uses of the Real, Part 2 includes many new contemporary artists who explore the themes of postmodernism and reality. Artists in the exhibition take objects from the everyday world and transform them into art. From vintage upholstery fabric to a sparkling skeleton or chunks of cement to discarded musical instruments, museum visitors can see a wide variety of images and ideas.
The USU Department of Art Project Gallery, a newly named gallery space in the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, presents a new art exhibition featuring work by seven distinguished alumni from Utah State University. This exhibition is the final event in a year-long celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the university’s Department of Art.
Sponsored by the USU Department of Art and the Caine School of the Arts, the Department of Art Distinguished Alumni Exhibition opens March 23 and continues through April 25. "The artists and scholars with work in the exhibition represent continuity from one century to another and span 30 years of education in studio and scholarly disciplines," said Art Department Head Carolyn Cardenas.
"What makes this alumnus show so remarkable is that everyone included in the exhibition has parlayed his or her student experiences into a successful professional career," Cardenas said. "I believe that these extraordinary individuals have in common a solid foundation in the arts that was perpetrated through the Art Department at USU. The faculty members here are still committed to developing excellence in the practice, teaching, and scholarship of the visual arts."
The artists included in the exhibition were chosen by current faculty in the Department of Art and include Heather Ferrell (art history and photography, BFA '94), Brad Schwieger (ceramics, MFA '84), Scott Rockwood (graphic design, BFA '75), Jon Rappleye (painting, BFA '92), Steve Smith (photography, BFA '86), Abigail Knowlton Israelsen (printmaking, BFA '00), and Shelia Nadimi (sculpture, MFA '95). The show is also co-curated by Heather Ferrell.
Women's Work: Contemporary Women Printmakers from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation
September 15, 2008 - March 1, 2009
Women's Work features the work of contemporary women printmakers from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation. Included in the exhibition are 56 prints by a number of contemporary women artists, including Anni Albers, Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Kruger, Bridget Riley, Kiki Smith, Judy Pfaff, Pat Steir, and Kara Walker, among others. The exhibition presents a wide variety of themes explored by contemporary women printmakers over the past 35 years, including abstraction, humor and satire, politics, race, gender, and the environment.
Organized by Arizona State University's Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center, Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser is the first major mid-career survey exhibition on the ceramic work of Kurt Weiser. In the hands of Kurt Weiser, (b. 1950) the centuries-old tradition of China paint on porcelain is given new life. Weiser’s sumptuous, provocative teapots and jars, resplendent with lush jungle scenes, can be both alluring and unsettling. Detailed depictions of tropical splendor become wayward reveries as radiant colors and subtle distortions transform classic porcelain vessels. Weiser is a Regents' Professor in the Arizona State University's Herberger College of the Arts and maintains a studio in Tempe, Arizona. An unassuming genius, the artist is known for his technical mastery and inventive pottery forms. This hallmark exhibition comprises 40 ceramic sculptures and spans 30 years of creative excellence. Peter Held, curator of ceramics, curated the exhibition. A catalog accompanies the exhibition and is available for purchase in the museum lobby.
Weiser’s signature China-painted porcelain vessels constitute a groundbreaking development in the vessel tradition. The emotional content of the work focuses on the nature of desire, tenderly in and out of harmony with nature, providing a rich narrative with lush imagery. Weiser received his BFA in 1972 and his MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1976. From 1977 to 1988 he was resident director of the famed Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts located in Helena, Montana. He was also honored as a Fellow of the American Craft Council in 2003. Weiser's work can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; National Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. among others.
The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art continues to display the exciting, electronic, musical installation, Klompen which it acquired last year through generous support from the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation. Klompen, is a sculptural installation consisting of 96 Dutch wooden clogs that play a different rhythmic pattern each time the sculpture is activated. This sound sculpture is created by Seattle-based artist, Trimpin.
Uses of the Real
Originality, Conditional Objects, Action/Documentation, and Contemplation
January 2008 - April 2011
Contemporary art can be baffling. Artists sometimes take objects from the everyday world and transform them into art. But what makes an object art? Is it originality, genuineness, authorship, or is it context? USU museum staff and guest curators select works from the museum’s permanent collection that provoke the question "What makes it art?" Panel discussions and viewer participation projects will be sponsored during the exhibition through 2009. The museum’s major works of art will remain on display throughout the exhibition, but you won’t want to miss seeing the changes that will be occurring in the galleries as the museum explores with viewers the questions associated with what makes art "real" art!
Traces - Montana's Frontier Revisited
Photography by Richard Buswell
March 25 - May 10, 2008
Richard Buswell's work displayed in this exhibition contains photographs of hidden Montana ghost towns and isolated sites of early western settlement. Through photographs of personal possessions and eroding structures, Dr. Buswell tells tales of nature’s reclamation of frontier sites. His new work explores abstract patterns seen in landscapes and everyday objects. This exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalog published by The University of Montana Press with an essay by Julian Cox, Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sight & Sound consists of selected paintings and sculptures from the museum’s permanent collection that provide a glimpse of the simultaneous revolutions in art and music that occurred during the 20th century. Viewers can experience art with the added enhancement of music to gain an understanding of the liberation from traditional forms that transformed both modern art and culture. Located in two major galleries of the museum, this exhibition features listening posts where visitors can hear selections of music by 20th century composers such as Edgard Varèse, Luciano Berio, John Cage, George Antheil, and Terry Riley. These selections were chosen by USU musicologist Dr. Eric Smigel to demonstrate the new ideas of space, time, and the depiction of the new world of technology in art and music.
A selection of curated artwork from the permanent collection focuses on painters working in New Mexico in the 1930s called the Transcendental Painting Group. This historic group established themselves as artists who strove to define their art beyond the traditions of landscape, still life, and figurative imagery. The artwork selected for this exhibition exemplifies these artists’ explorations of the southwestern landscape, expressions of the sublime, and a universal shared sense of values in the human experience. The group’s founding manifesto states the group’s intention to, "carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world through new concepts of space, color, light, and design to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual."
Picturing Faith is a unique series of photographs showing the place of religion in American society through the lens of some of America's most well known photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks. This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Program in the USU Department of History and the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies.
Ms. Webster sculpts living things that come from the sea to make strong statements about nature and the environment. By casting real objects in porcelain and assembling them in twisted, distorted, and exaggerated forms, she suggests the environmental damage and chemical pollution she feels is "irrevocably altering nature." Webster's sculptural forms are reminiscent of Bernard Palissy, a French ceramicist from the 1600s.
Organized by writers and independent curators Michael Duncan and Kristine McKenna along with the Santa Monica Museum of Art, this exhibition offers an extraordinary snapshot of the post-war arts underground in Southern California. This snapshot offers a groundbreaking scholarly exploration of the individuals and communities Wallace Berman gathered around him as they worked, lived, created, played, and above all, collaborated.
Allen Ruppersberg's latest installation, The Singing Posters, is an homage to Allen Ginsberg and his famous poem, Howl (1955-1956). When Ruppersberg, who teaches at UCLA, discovered that his students had never heard of Howl, he conceived The Singing Posters as a way to introduce that important work to a new generation. For this installation, Ruppersberg translated the poem into phonetic spellings and reintegrated them into the original text. The "new" text is printed on approximately 200 vibrantly colored commercial advertising posters installed floor to ceiling on the gallery walls.