June 18, 2007

Museum plans full summer of exhibits, activities

by Andrea Hahn


CARBONDALE, Ill. — The University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale presents an escape from the heat with some hot stuff of its own this summer.

Dona Bachman, museum director, said the summer lineup includes a mix of exhibits from the permanent collection as well as distinguished guest exhibits, including sculptor Preston Jackson and a new photographic exhibit from Bob Hageman.

The summer kicks off with Art Fusion, a display selected from the museum's educational outreach program. The exhibit features art by area middle and high school students who participated in the museum's educational outreach program. Participating schools are: Carbondale Middle School, Davie School in Anna, Du Quoin Middle School, Elkville High School, Giant City School in Carbondale, Harrisburg High School, Vergennes Elementary School and Zeigler-Royalton High School. The exhibit is in the Atrium Gallery from Tuesday (June 12) through Aug. 3. A reception for artists, parents, teachers and interested community members is from 2 to 4 p.m. on June 24. The program was supported in part by Carbondale Community Arts, which also helps support the University Museum's Arts Education Festival in April.

Media Advisory

Camera crews, reporters and photographers are welcome at the Patrons' Choices and "Quixotic" receptions (see below). Bachman said many of the patrons are eager to tell the story of how they selected the particular choices for the exhibit. Their choices range from fine art to folk art, to historical items to items with unusual traits. Media members who want access to the museum archives for a rare look at what else the museum has to offer can contact Bachman to arrange a viewing time. She can be reached at 618/453-5388 or at dbachman@siu.edu.

The Museum Patrons' Choices exhibit opens on July 6 in the South Two Gallery. Museum patrons made selections from the museum's permanent collection, which now numbers about 75,000 pieces. The exhibit promises to be full of surprises and diversity.

The museum was established in 1869 and has been part of higher education in Southern Illinois since 1874, when what is now SIUC was Southern Illinois Normal College. Museum staff recently finished cataloging the collection in a database. With more than 130 years to collect art and artifacts, the museum has developed some collections that are world-famous and irreplaceable.

"When you come to the University Museum, you see maybe 5 percent of the collection at any one time," Bachman said. "I already have several pieces chosen for the Patrons' Choices exhibit. Paul McRoy, one of our volunteers, has spent many hours cleaning and repairing models and miniatures. He selected a marvelous model of a royal barge from Thailand that he recently restored for us. Patron Carol Phemester selected a handsome walking stick belonging to her ancestor, Daniel Parkinson, who was the fourth University president, from 1897 until 1913."

The Museum Patrons' Choice exhibit runs through Sept. 9. A reception is set for 4 to 7 p.m. on July 13.

Also opening on July 6 is "Quixotic: Photographs by Bob Hageman." The exhibit runs through Sept. 7 in the Mitchell Gallery. In the past, Hageman emphasized nature photography, but recent exhibitions included images such as a series of the Cadillac Ranch in Texas. Hageman named his current exhibit after the literary hero Don Quixote, the famous creation of Miguel de Cervantes. He noted, "Opportunities to explore in making art are as plentiful as the windmills Don Quixote chased."

A reception for Hageman's exhibit is set for 4 to 7 p.m. on July 13 in conjunction with the Patrons' Choices reception.

Preston Jackson brings his foundry cast sculptures to SIUC beginning July 16. His exhibit, "Fresh from Julieanne's Garden," has been displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Illinois State Museum. It will be on display in the South One Gallery of the University Museum through Oct. 8.

Jackson won the state's highest honor for personal achievement – the Order of Lincoln Medallion – in 1998. His commissions include the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Northwestern University, Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina and the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Jackson owns The Raven Gallery, home of the Contemporary Art Center, in Peoria. He is a professor of sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Bachman described his status, saying, "He's really famous – there is no other way to put it." The artist earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from SIUC. A reception for the exhibit will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 7.

Two exhibits from the permanent collection are on display now. The Neher Collection of African Art is in the International Gallery until Aug. 3. The collection was a gift to the museum from Gerald and Lois Neher, Anna natives who were Christian missionaries in Nigeria. WSIU Public Broadcasting is working on an oral recording describing the collection for those who are visually impaired. Bachman said the recording will include some of the stories the Nehers have told about their adventures in Nigeria, including a thrilling story about how they obtained a leopard skin. The collection represents several Nigerian tribes and includes musical instruments, clothing and metal work.

The Hall of Art currently displays selections of Oceanic art from the world-famous Morton May Collection. May, a St. Louis department store magnate, amassed a sizeable collection of artifacts from Papua New Guinea. The University Museum collection represents almost half of it. The balance – some 530 pieces – forms the backbone of the acclaimed Oceanic art collection at the St. Louis Art Museum. Bachman said the collection is not on a heavy exhibition schedule because of its fragility, so now is a good time to see some of the best of it.

The museum will also host three master of fine arts thesis exhibits from June 12-26. The thesis exhibits are the culmination of extended study by students in the graduate program of the School of Art and Design. This summer, exhibits are by Tom Azzarello, Jiawei Gong and Wen Fan.

Visitors may also view the permanent exhibits. The Southern Illinois Gallery is home to the Works Progress Administration Pioneer Dioramas created by University employees from 1938-1942. The Frauenfelter Gallery has a "Life Through Time in Southern Illinois" display.

The University Museum is in the north end of Faner Hall. During the summer, the museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Metered parking is nearby across from the Student Center. Campus parking is open on Saturday and Sunday and weekends after 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Here is the summer exhibit schedule in calendar-friendly format:

• March 19-Aug. 3: Neher Collection of African Art – International Gallery

• April 2 – Sept. 30: Selections from University Museum's Morton May Collection – Hall of Art

• June 12-Aug. 3: Art Fusion: Works by Secondary Students – Atrium Gallery. Reception 2-4 p.m., June 24

• June 12-26: Master's of Fine Arts Exhibits by Tom Azzarello, Jiawei Gong and Wen Fan

• July 6-Sept. 7: Quixotic: Photographs by Bob Hageman – Mitchell Gallery. Reception 4 to 7 p.m., July 20

• July 6-Sept. 9: Museum Patrons' Choices: Selections from the Museum Collections – South Two Gallery. Reception 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 7.

• July 16-Oct. 8: Preston Jackson, Sculptor: Fresh from Julieanne's Garden – South One Gallery. Reception 4 to 7 p.m., Sept. 7