B5- Art Conversation- University Art Museum

The University Art Museum was first created in the 70’s, where the bookstore stands today on upper campus. It became the first accredited museum in the Cal State system. After some time it was moved to the library where it was given a whole floor to showcase artwork. Yet recently, the Horn Center, on lower campus, was built; and the museum claimed one end of the building to move to its work into. Along with showcasing local artists, the museum also offers kindergarten through 12th grade classes that are sometimes taught by graduate students that are looking into getting their teaching credential.

Currently up for viewing, the museum is hosting the exhibit called, “Call and Response, When We Say…You Say.” The artists that contributed to the exhibit focused on showing pieces that resonated and responded to the community. The artist’s have included their own artwork as well as artwork from other artists, such as Andy Warhol, Lee Krasner, and Peter Kowalski. The set up of the art around the museum creates a n overall illusion of disconnection. It creates this tone by echoing pieces in different areas of the building. For example, a piece by Krasner is reflected by grid-like art that contains similar colors. Another way of showing disconnection was by putting different pieces created by Warhol in separate rooms inside the museum. The artists also set up their exhibit in this fashion in order to draw viewers all around and explore all the work that was presented.

Reflection of Lee Krasner
Lee Krasner

With provided information from the curator, Christina A., many of the pieces were explained in depth. To begin she touched on Krasner’s piece and the one displayed next to it as abstract; however, to the artist’s that created the exhibit, it exemplified their purpose by showing grids and boundaries between colors and subjects. For the exhibit as a whole, it represented a feeling of separation or disconnection as did the way they set up their pieces. The second part of the exhibit was filled with work that represented separation within a community. The statues in the middle of the floor in the first picture are actually gated doors you would find on an apartment door. These doors were meant to keep unwanted things out and good things in; however, the artist bent them in a way that is jagged, dangerous, and bad. By doing so, a viewer can understand the controversial question, “Do we go behind doors to protect ourselves from the world around us or from the hidden truth of what we are?” Also featured in the picture are substances known as rubbing alcohol and acetone. What is not shown by the picture is a third substance on the opposing wall that features sinus medications, and when put together they create the drug called methamphetamine. Together the jagged doors and dug ingredients represented bad neighborhoods.

My experience at the University Art Museum at California State University: Long Beach was incredible. The concept that the artists wanted to represent was displayed well and when further explained about what each piece meant to portray and why the art was set up the way it was helped illustrate their purpose and story. It was fascinating how there were several ways people could represent their artist statement and story. The connection between the pieces, even though they were completed by various artists, was interesting. You could understand each artist’s perspective on the subject, even when there was an explanation needed to uncover the meaning behind the piece. Overall, I enjoyed visiting the University Art Museum and thought the exhibit presented was fascinating.

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