Krannert Art Museum set to premier spring exhibits

By Manisha Venkat

Krannert Art Museum’s spring 2015 public opening reception will feature collections of art ranging from contemporary pieces to traditional Japanese art. The opening reception kicks off Thursday at 6 p.m. and will display five different exhibits. 

For “MetaModern,” one of the five exhibits, the opening will be the first stop on a two-and-a-half year, six-location tour across the nation. The exhibit highlights some of the best metamodernist works, according to curators Judith Hoos Fox and Ginger Gregg Duggan of CuratorSquared. 

“MetaModern” will be displayed alongside other exhibits such as “Artists Including Me: William Wegman,” “Versions and Revisions,” “Speculative Visions of Pragmatic Architectures” and “With the Grain: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Postwar Years.” 

Fox, who has over thirty years of curatorial experience in the field, has worked at various museums and exhibits studying a range of art types including the many facets of modernism, according to CuratorSquared’s website. 

“In the case of Modernism, it was originally considered to be beyond style, as style changes according to social and historic context,” Fox said. “But Modernism was considered to be truth, rather than a mutable style. What we have seen, with now 50 to 80 years distance, is that no, Modernism was indeed a style, and not a truth. It was not the end of style.”

Artists featured in “MetaModern,” like Conrad Bakker, seem to be commenting on modernism by modifying its own style to achieve their metamodernist purpose. Bakker’s work like “Untitled Project: eBay (Ding)” is a part of the exhibit. Bakker intends “to reveal and critically comment upon the political economies and relational networks between persons and things,” according to his website.    

Luke Turner of Notes on Modernism, an online webzine that compiles work on Metamodernism from various media, stated, “The metamodern generation understands that we can be both ironic and sincere in the same moment; that one does not necessarily diminish the other.”

The exhibit will be on display from Thursday to March 30, and more than 10 artists’ works will be featured.

Accompanying metamodernism at this opening will be a more minimalist and rather playful “Artists Including Me: William Wegman” exhibit. 

Wegman, a University alumnus, is known for his famous paintings and photographs of Weimaraners. A look at Wegman’s website provides a sense of his passion toward using Weimaraners as subjects: books, art and videos of the animal. However, his artwork is far more experimental than simple portraits of dogs. This is evident in “Artists Including Me,” in which Wegman comments on a list of lauded artists including Leonardo Da Vinci and Wassily Kandinsky in a humorous manner. 

“In this exhibition, Wegman parades through the history of art with references to iconic artists and art movements, all the while using visual puns and subversive humor,” wrote Kathryn Polite, co-curator of Wegman’s exhibit, in an email.  

“Artists Including Me” is a collection of works done from the mid-1970s to present day including Polaroids, drawings and paintings with found postcards. William Wegman will also be present at Krannert Art Museum on March 5 for an “Artists Talk” lecture. 

“Speculative Visions of Pragmatic Architecture” will feature works of Erik Hemingway, associate professor of Architecture, in an attempt to “raise awareness in saving lesser-known modernist homes as well as highlighting the history of their regional design importance,” according to Krannert Art Museum’s website. “With the Grain: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Postwar Years” takes a traditional turn in the modernist opening with its Japanese prints produced by both Japanese and foreign print artists.

Manisha can be reached at [email protected].