January 08, 2008

Museum sets spring exhibition schedule

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The spring 2008 exhibition schedule at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's University Museum presents a challenge of perspective to start off 2008. Whether it is glass artist Rick Beck's presentation of larger-than-life industrial items re-cast as art, or the "Hold Everything" exhibit selected from the 180,000-plus objects in the museum's permanent collection, visitors this spring will find delights for the eye and the mind.

The museum re-opens for the spring on Jan. 15. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Some reception and exhibit dates may be subject to change.

Jan. 15 – May 10

Fred Myers: Historic Figures and Common Men AND Maude Craig, Painter: Life in a Rural Town

Curated by Lori Huffman in the Art Hall

These two local artists participated in federal art programs in the 1930s and early 1940s. Myers was a West Frankfort coal miner, originally from Woodlawn, who began his artistic career by whittling. When the mines closed during the Great Depression, Myers worked to perfect his woodcarving skills. He was one of several artists the University Museum hired through the Works Progress Administration. He worked for the museum from 1939 until 1942, carving historic figures and prehistoric animals. The museum has 25 of his sculptures.

Craig, born Maude Parmley in 1881, is from Pope County, but moved to Creal Springs in the mid-1930s. She had little formal art training, but did take classes at what was then Southern Illinois Normal University. Beginning in 1939, she worked with the Federal Art Project to paint scenes from Creal Springs. Her charming paintings are done in what is known as the naïve style. The museum has eight of her paintings.

Jan. 15 – May 10

Fred Myers' Dinosaurs and Today's Monsters

Curated by Bob DeHoet in the Fraunfelter Gallery

This exhibit features Myers' prehistoric animals rather than his historic figures. He sculpted the dinosaurs and mastodons and other creatures using sketches for guides and without the benefit of such luxuries as the Discovery Channel and before many of the archaeological and scientific discoveries we take for granted six decades later. Visitors to this exhibit not only have the pleasure of viewing the walnut-wood sculptures, but also get a glimpse into the imagination of a previous generation's vision of the prehistoric world.

Jan. 15 – May 10

Hold Everything: Containers Across Six Continents

Curated by Lori Huffman and her Art 447 class in the International Gallery

The challenge from University Museum Curator Lori Huffman to her museology students: Consider anything that might be termed a "container." Their mission: Create an exhibit of those containers using the museum archive. The exhibit: Not what you might expect. The students opted to include some unusual items under the "container" umbrella, including a coffin and a ceramic bank.

Jan. 15 – March 6

Two Prints by Margaret Taylor Burroughs: "Harriet Tubman" and "Two Worlds"

Southern Illinois Gallery

The University Museum bought these two prints from Burroughs in 1991. Burroughs, who is now 91, is famous as an artist, educator and builder of institutions. She was born in Louisiana but moved to Chicago while young. Burroughs studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating with a master's degree in 1944. She taught at the elementary, high school and community college levels, wrote children's books and poetry, and created art in a variety of mediums, including watercolor and oil paintings and marble and bronze sculpture. When she was just 22 years old, she founded the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago and served on its board for more than 60 years. She also founded what is now the DuSable Museum of African-American History, and she served on the Chicago District Board of Education in the 1980s. Former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington declared a day in her honor in 1986.

Jan. 22 – April 17

The Federal Arts Projects of the 1930s

Curated by George Mavigliano in the South One Gallery

Art historian and SIUC professor emeritus Mavigliano presents art from the Great Depression, including representations from Ad Reinhardt, Aaron Bohrod, Raymond Breinin, Ben Shahn, Rufino Tamayo and Douglas Wilson. Mavigliano will discuss "How the Federally Sponsored Art of the Thirties Began" during a museum reception from 6 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Jan. 29 – March 7

From Block to Print: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Permanent Collection

Curated by Stacey Sloboda in the Atrium Gallery

This exhibit highlights a collection of Japanese woodblock prints donated to the University Museum in the 1960s by Henry Moe and his wife. Sloboda will discuss the works at an informal gathering from 2 to 3 p.m. on Feb. 15.

Jan. 29 – April 17

On Form: Sculptural Glass by Rick Beck

Mitchell Gallery

Master glass artist and SIUC alum Rick Beck returns to Carbondale with his collection of cast glass sculpture. Beck makes the ordinary extraordinary, and turns the mundane to whimsy with his mega-sized glass bolts, hooks, spoons and other objects. His sculpture is approachable, critics say, and it is beautiful, thought provoking and somehow reverent. Beck earned his master of fine arts degree from SIUC in 1989. His exhibition venues include the Kentucky Museum of Art and Design, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Glasmuseet in Ebeltoft, Denmark, the Gallery Center in Boca Raton, Fla., and elsewhere. Currently, Beck teaches in glass programs across the United States. He visits SIUC for a gallery reception from 4 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Feb. 5 – March 7

High School Visual Art Institute

Organized by Bob DeHoet and Sally Gradle, South Two Gallery

This exhibit, made possible in part by a grant from Carbondale Community Arts, features art created by area high school students who participated in a special art education program that saw SIUC staff collaborating with the schools to create art workshops. Anna-Jonesboro High School, Cairo High School, Pinckneyville High School and Zeigler-Royalton High School participated in the program.