Oregon State University will host “Cultural Conversations,” an exhibition of prints from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Schnitzer Family Foundation, April 3 through May 3 on the Corvallis campus.
An opening reception will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. April 5 in Bexell Hall, 2251 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis. Schnitzer, a Portland businessman, collector and philanthropist who owns one of the country’s largest private collections of contemporary prints and multiples, will provide remarks about the exhibition’s artists and artwork.
OSU President Ed Ray also will give remarks. An informal, self-guided tour of the exhibition will follow.
Pieces from the exhibit will be displayed in the Fairbanks Gallery as well as in four cultural centers on campus. The exhibition was curated by Kirsi Peltomäki, associate professor of art history at OSU.
“The prints for this exhibition address the educational context through assumptions about instruction and learning, effort and ease, task and performance,” Peltomäki said.
The Fairbanks Gallery will feature work by John Baldessari, an American conceptual artist who works with text and photographic images. Often drawing from popular culture and mass media, Baldessari challenges viewers to interpret their own meaning for unique or unlikely combinations. Prints from three of Baldessari’s renowned series are included in the exhibition.
“I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art” resulted from a project that Baldessari assigned to art students at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1971. The pledge, repeated to inscribe it into muscle memory, transforms a form of grade school punishment into a challenge for art students.
The series “Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)” (1973) is a visual documentation of a seemingly impossible task, documented visually against the bright California sky. Whimsy becomes intertwined with the thrill of the miraculous.
The prints in the series “Hegel’s Cellar” (1986), use found imagery to evoke ideas about mass obedience against the place of the individual within collective formations.
Four campus cultural centers also will feature works from the Schnitzer collection:
Prints by Enrique Chagoya, a Mexican-born, American painter and print-maker whose works focus on the changing nature of culture, will be on display at the Centro Cultural César Chávez, 691 S.W. 26th St.
Work by Joe Feddersen of Colville heritage, a Washington-based sculptor, painter, photographer and mixed-media artist. Feddersen is known for creating artwork strong in geometric patterns reflective of what is seen in the environment, landscape and his Native American heritage. His work will be on display at the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws, 311 S.W. 26th St.
Art by Mildred Howard, an African-American artist known primarily for her sculptural installation and mixed-media assemblages, will be on display at the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, 100 S.W. Memorial Place.
Pieces by Hung Liu, an acclaimed Chinese-born American contemporary artist and one of the first Chinese artists to establish a career in the West, will be featured at the Asian and Pacific Cultural Center, 2695 S.W. Jefferson Way.
“I chose the artists and the particular prints for the cultural centers because they are powerful works of art. They are relevant to conversations about identity, heritage, and culture today,” Peltomäki said. “All of these works speak of shared histories, but they also invite viewers to think about how those histories connect to other stories and aspects of contemporary life in the United States today. They identify culture and identity as complex, multifaceted entities that are sources of strength and agency.”
The Fairbanks Gallery is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. the third Thursday of each month for the Corvallis Arts Walk. The gallery will be open until 7 p.m. on April 5. Campus Cultural Centers are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The exhibits are free and open to the public.