August 08, 2007

Fall museum exhibits offer plenty of variety

by Andrea Hahn


CARBONDALE, Ill. — The fall schedule for University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale blends highlights of the permanent collection with visiting artists and traveling exhibits, some of them carried over from the summer and some debuting as the fall turns to winter.

"Quixotic: Photographs by Bob Hageman," which opened in early July, remains on display through Sept. 7. Hageman described his exhibit as his way "to rescue an oppressed need to make art." His photographs, some of them taken during a Route 66 road trip and some in more exotic locales, lend a thought-provoking perspective to beautiful or whimsical subjects. He captures the depth of the Grand Canyon, the vitality preserved in the carving of a carousel horse, the graceful decay of a rusting vehicle.

The "Patrons' Choices: Selections from the Museum's Collection," remains on display through Sept. 9. To make the exhibit, museum patrons were given free rein in the 75,000-plus-item vault and told they could pick one thing (or maybe a small set) – whatever they wanted – to share with the University and area communities. Visitors can learn why Kathy and Dr. Parviz Sanjabi's young grandson influenced them to choose a backgammon set from Iran, an item "re-gifted" to the museum from the U. S. government via former U.S. Sen. Charles H. Percy, who received it from the Iranian prime minister. They also can learn why Dede Lingle Ittner thought her grandfather would have admired the circa 1880 surgical and amputation kit she selected, or what piece of art in the museum inspired Rachel Fischoff to write "Ode to a Framed Bug" for her commentary.

The University Museum's Morton May Collection remains on display through Sept. 30. 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.

Preston Jackson, now a nationally acclaimed sculptor with handfuls of national and state awards and commissions to his credit, was once an SIUC School of Art and Design undergraduate. Returning to SIUC for the first time, he shares his bronze sculpture collection, "Fresh from Julieanne's Garden." The exhibit, now on display, runs through Oct. 8. Exhibit designer Nate Steinbrink said each sculpture is a moment in a story Jackson tells – many from his own family history. The sculptures explore the relationship between whites and blacks during the days of slavery. Jackson himself will be on hand for the exhibit reception, set for 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 7. Jackson will give a gallery talk during the last hour of his reception.

The watercolor and acrylic paintings of Joan Skiver-Levy decorate the gallery from Aug. 21 through Oct. 26. The 73-year-old West Frankfort resident said the love of color drives her to create art and that creating art still amazes her. Skiver-Levy's reception is set to coincide with Preston Jackson's exhibit reception, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 7. Pianist Mary Ann Barnett plays from 4 to 6 p.m. during the reception.

"Guatemalan Textiles: Ruth Ginsberg-Place Collection," an exhibit of the museum's collection of Guatemalan textiles, opens Aug. 21 and runs through Nov. 16. Ginsberg-Place, professor emeritus of fiber art, collected the pieces in 1969. They show both traditional and modern weaving techniques. The reception is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 28.

"Aesthesia" is an exhibit dreamed up by Shai Yeshayahu Sharabi, assistant professor in SIUC's School of Architecture. The multi-disciplinary exhibit explores the relationship between building and living, and features the thinking of John Dewey, R. Buckminster Fuller and John McHale. The exhibit opens Sept. 14 and runs through Oct. 26, coinciding with a symposium on the same topic scheduled for Sept. 28-29. The reception is 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 28.

"Mapping Southern Illinois" opens Sept. 25 and runs through Dec. 7. The exhibit uses different maps to paint a picture of Southern Illinois. From a Native American map to current maps of seismic activity, this exhibit traces the way inhabitants or travelers through the area have understood Southern Illinois from pre-history until today. Morris Library special collections contributes to this exhibit as well. The exhibit reception is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 5.

A traveling exhibit of "New Deal Holiday and Greeting Cards" comes to University Museum from Indiana State University in Terre Haute from Oct. 19 through Dec. 14. The cards, including a Diego Rivera lithograph and examples from John Curry and Rockwell Kent, were a Works Progress Administration project and date from 1935. They were never published. The reception is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2.

The fall schedule closes with two traditional but ever-changing exhibits. The Combined Faculty Art Exhibition runs from Nov. 2 through Dec. 7, with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. on opening day, Nov. 2. This exhibit is open to all SIUC faculty – not just those from the School of Art and Design.

An exhibit previewing works by Master's of Fine Arts candidates runs the same time. That exhibit highlights one piece from those master's candidates whose thesis exhibits will run later in the academic year.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is not open on Monday. Admission is free, donations are voluntary. The museum store is open when the museum is open.