Félix Buhot's "After the Rain (Àpres la pluie)" is an 1872 etching that is included in the University Art Museum's "50 Works on Print" exhibit. "After the Rain" is one of non-sponsored works in the exhibit.
Art Museum presents ’50 Works on Paper’Tweet
Prints, drawings and photographs from the University Art Museum’s permanent collection will receive special attention when the “50 Works on Paper” exhibition opens this semester.
The exhibition, which includes etchings by Rembrandt van Rijn and Salvador Dali, a photograph from Cindy Sherman and a lithograph by Alexander Calder, will kick off with an opening reception at the museum from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 30. The exhibition will remain on display at the museum’s main gallery in the Fine Arts Building through April 5.
“We wanted to pick 50 works that would be representative of different traditions,” Art Museum Director Diane Butler said. “We didn’t want to have all Old Master European prints. There are Japanese woodcuts, American and Mexican contemporary pieces, an Israeli print and others. We are trying to pull from different areas of our collection, while keeping the quality high.”
The exhibition also serves as a fund-raiser to increase access to the permanent collection of more than 3,000 objects. Upon taking over as director in September 2012, Butler noticed than many of the printed works were either not shelved or were not properly matted.
“It’s a big project to re-mat everything,” Butler said. “The dollar signs were adding up. I thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be a nice occasion to raise money for the preservation of these objects so they can be seen in the Kenneth C. Lindsay Study Room?’ I also like this initiative because people can get a sense of the quality of artwork we have in the collection.”
A contribution of $500 enables a donor to become the official sponsor of one of the “50 Works on Paper.” The tax-deductible donation allows the sponsor’s chosen piece of art to be matted and placed in a lightweight, archival Solander box with other works in a storage room adjacent to the Lindsay Study Room.
Half of the works already have sponsors, Butler said, but works can continue to be selected after the exhibition opens. A preview of the art on display can be found at binghamton.edu/art-museum. Besides having their names on the exhibition label, sponsors will be invited for a personal visit to the Art Museum, where Butler will discuss the chosen work of art.
“It gives me one-on-one time with the donor,” she said. “There have been an amazing range of people who are sponsoring (works): alumni, faculty members, departments, student groups and community organizations.”
The exhibition will offer more than increased access and increased preservation of the collection. An educational component will include labels of 200-300 words on each of the 50 works.
“I’ve written the labels with the layman in mind. I’m writing with my mother in mind,” she said with a laugh. “They’re not for my art history colleagues.”
Those who want to build an art connoisseurship, however, can take part in “Four Fridays in February” events that are related to “50 Works on Paper.” Starting at noon, the workshops will help guests understand the techniques that go into the creation of art.
The “Four Fridays” schedule is:
• Feb. 7 – Making Drawings: Lecture and demonstration with Blazo Kovacevic, assistant professor of art;
• Feb. 14 – Making Prints: Lecture and presentation with Alexandra Davis, adjunct lecturer of art;
• Feb. 21 – Looking at Drawings: Gallery talk with Karen Barzman, associate professor of art history;
• Feb. 28 – Looking at Prints: Gallery talk with Butler.
The opening reception will also feature original music compositions inspired by “50 Works on Paper.” The collaboration between the Art Museum and the Music Department began when Daniel Thomas Davis, associate professor of music, brought 14 of his composition students to the museum.
“He was looking for different sorts of inspiration for their compositions,” Butler said. “With ’50 Works,’ they had a lot to choose from. They each picked one piece to write about.”
Butler discussed the artwork and the students then wrote 2-3-minute compositions. Students and faculty members will perform 8-10 works during the opening reception.
“Each of the compositions has a different instrumentation,” said Butler, who added that performances will feature a projection of the inspirational artwork. “It’ll fun to hear what particular images can inspire.”
While Butler envisions “50 Works on Paper” as a one-time exhibition, she said she has enjoyed working to expand the Art Museum’s audience.
“This has been a nice opportunity to get to know the people who are interested in art and want to be supporters of the Art Museum,” Butler said. “I’ve been happy with the number of people who have backed the project – and even people who have said, ‘I can’t afford $500 to sponsor a print, but here is $100 to go toward the cause.’ That’s really generous. It is one more friend who can talk to somebody else (about us). That’s important both on campus and in the Binghamton community.”