At the Fresno Art Museum, a new round of exhibitions is a little like Christmas: So many gifts under the tree, and they all get opened at the same time.
On Friday, the public will get the first glimpse at five new Summer/Fall exhibitions at the official opening reception, which includes featured artists talking about their shows. It’s an eclectic and inspiring lineup. “As chief curator I think about how the new exhibitions relate to, or are different from, each other,” says Michele Ellis Pracy, who is also the museum’s executive director. “I approach our galleries as living, breathing entities that will impact and enrich our visitors.”
The galleries will open to regular museum visitors 11 a.m. Saturday, July 14.
All of the exhibitions are original to the museum, meaning that Ellis Pracy and the curatorial staff decided whom to show and then proceeded to select the work in person for exhibition. Original shows take a great deal more work than pre-packaged exhibitions that tour to various institutions, and museum staff worked on these for a year before opening.
A slender but powerful thread connects the exhibitions. “The consistent, subliminal concept that marries them is perseverance and history,” Ellis Pracy says.
I’m sure that in the coming months I will be writing about and diving more deeply into some of these exhibitions. But for starters, here’s a rundown on the lineup:
The exhibition: “Master Weaver: Innovations in Forms and Materials.”
“The Crucible,” of course, is Arthur Miller’s 1953 classic play about the Salem witchcraft trials, but it can also be read as a searing allegory about McCarthyism or more generally mass hysteria in times of political unrest. The new production is set in a post-World War II small town that “feels eerily close to our own.”
Notes from Saturday evening’s glamorous “Trashique 2018,” in which an aircraft hanger at the Fresno airport was transformed into a shimmering creative oasis. (Except that an oasis brings to mind a desert, while this year’s show, thanks to Mother Nature, was closer in terms of topography to Arctic tundra):
My favorite piece:Kristine Doiel’s tribute to mid-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. This power couple is best known for their contributions to mid-century American architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing. Doiel’s creation, modeled with a strutting certainty by Katerina Guerrero, offered a whimsical tribute to the Eames’ artistic vision.
The materials: Doiel used plastic mattress packaging, milk containers, mesh vegetable bags, food packing boxes, magazine pages, leather and fabric upholstery swatches, rubber, rope, packing foam and cardboard boxes. She fashioned a stunning dress boasting a cheerful grid of colors and textures, along with a wide-brimmed “hat” that suggested a giant Eames wedding-cake topper — it also made me think of an immobile mobile — complete with full-sized light bulbs. (Guerrero, the model, told me that it was actually quite easy to wear.)
Pattie Wilkinson expands her artistic horizons with her take on Duchamp’s ‘Bicycle Wheel.’ Plus: You can win a pair of tickets to one of the biggest social events of the year
UPDATE: Our lucky winner is Adrienne Lucero. She gets two tickets to tonight’s “Trashique.”
ORIGINAL POST: Pattie Wilkinson didn’t think she had much in common with Marcel Duchamp when she picked him as her inspiration artist for “Trashique 2018,” the swanky Fresno Art Museum fundraiser that has emerged in recent years as a clever juxtaposition of fashion show, art history lesson, dazzling social event and recycling pep rally.
Wilkinson, who has had a long career designing trade-show displays and as a consultant in the arts and crafts industry — and is an experienced crafter herself — grew up learning to make practical things such as clothes and Christmas gifts. (She came from a family of modest means.) Duchamp, on the other hand, the famed French painter and sculptor, is known for his contributions to Cubism and his groundbreaking contributions to conceptual art. One of his best known pieces involved taking a commonplace urinal, titling it “Fountain” and in 1917 submitting it to an art exhibition. It was a moment that rocked the art world.
Win two tickets to “Trashique 2018,” which for the first year is being held in an airplane hanger. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us the most surprising thing you ever found in the trash. (Or, if you don’t have a good Dumpster Diver story, just tell us why you want to go.) Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.
But thanks to “Trashique,” an event featuring glamorous (if not always practical) fashions made from recycled materials, the always-up-for-a-challenge Wilkinson found herself paired with none other than the “urinal guy.”
My criteria: It’s completely subjective. I just like how these stories came out. For some, it was the fun in reporting them, and for others the joy in writing them. (Note: Because of my hybrid year — working through May as the Fresno Bee’s arts reporter, and the remainder of the year in my new role at The Munro Review — you’ll find stories from both platforms.) Here they are in chronological order:
A special thanks to the cast of Selma Arts Center’s “Spring Awakening” for being my January guests on “The Munro Review,” produced by the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC). I interview director Dominic Grijalva and actors Kindle Lynn Cowger and Kai DiMino about the production, which opens Jan. 26, and host two musical performances from the entire cast. They sound great. You don’t want to miss it.
Plus, I recap my coverage of Good Company’s “A Christmas Carol,” Fresno State’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” CMT’s “Annie,” Good Company’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” and Audra McDonald’s upcoming concert with the Fresno Philharmonic. And I preview Good Company’s “Sense and Sensibility” and “Annie,” tell you about a quirky little show called “Calculus: The Musical,” discuss the upcoming national tour of “Kinky Boots,” and give a shout-out to the Fresno Art Museum’s winter exhibitions.
You can watch the episode on demand on YouTube (above). And you can see it on broadcast TV on CMAC 1 (Comcast 93, AT&T 99) the following dates:
Monday, January 1 – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, January 3 – 8:00 pm
Friday, January 5 – 2:30 pm
Sunday, January 7 – 12:30 pm
To subscribe to the email newsletter for The Munro Review, go to this link:
Fresno Art Museum’s Distinguished Woman Artist of 2017 celebrates 80-plus-1 years in a new exhibition. She’ll speak at the museum on Thursday
Eleven years ago, when the acclaimed quilt and collage artist Joan Schulze turned 70, she wrote a poem. This was not out of character. She considers herself both a visual artist and poet. Often for her the two art forms complement each other, blending into something greater than the sum of the parts. She ended her birthday poem with the lines:
Stay afloat Who’s the wild one?
People seemed to get a kick out of that.
“It apparently set everybody off thinking that 70 wasn’t such a bad thing,” she tells me.
I’m sitting with Schulze on a bench in the middle of her Fresno Art Museum exhibition, which she will talk about in an “Art in the Afternoon” lecture 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2. Schulze is the museum’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist of 2017, a slightly unwieldy title, but an important one. Around us are her artworks: on one wall, the triptych “Opus,” the largest collage she’s ever done; and on another a 15-work collage series titled “Mt. Fuji.” She has worked long and hard on this show, and she’s proud of it.
Options include new exhibitions at the Fresno Art Museum and Armenian Museum, two chamber music concerts and a closing reception at Corridor 2122
(Note: I’m posting this a day earlier than usual because of a Thursday night option.)
The Fresno Art Museum has a venerable tradition: Each year a museum group called the Council of 100 selects an outstanding woman artist over the age of 60 to celebrate. The artist traditionally lives 100 miles or more away from Fresno. This year’s honor goes to a prominent Bay Area fiber artist who just had her 80th birthday. (What a way to celebrate!) The exhibition “Joan Schulze: Celebrating 80” opens with a reception on Friday, Sept. 22.
There’s another exhibition opening as well: selections from the famed AIDS Memorial Quilt cared for by the NAMES Project Foundation. The show is a partnership by the museum and the Fresno County Department of Public Health.