Prints and photographs gifted to Jule Collins Smith Museum on exhibition

Published: June 12, 2018
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The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art recently opened two exhibits: “Beth Van Hoesen: The Minutiae of Everyday Life” and “The Museum Project: An Artists’ Collective to Benefit Collections,” both on view through Aug. 19.

Van Hoesen, a contemporary of David Hockney, is an American printmaker known for her work in lithography, relief making and etching. Her main subjects include art history mainstays of figures, still-life and landscapes, described by curators as capturing a quirky, tongue-in-cheek quality. In “The Minutiae of Everyday Life,” visitors see the contents of a junk drawer, the detail of a house fly and the family dog in examples of contemporary printmaking.

The exhibition features 24 drawings and prints by Van Hosesen, as gifted by the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust.

“I am very happy this summer to be able to showcase works of art from two recent gifts to the museum: a collection of fine prints and drawings from the estate of Beth Van Hoesen, and a diverse group of photographs donated by an artists’ collective known as the Museum Project,” said Dennis Harper, curator of collections and exhibitions. “We have previously exhibited individual works from both collections, but this is the first occasion to show a majority from each group at one time. Beth Van Hoesen was a remarkable artist who made her career in the San Francisco area. She was part of an informal group of artists in California during the 1950s and 60s who rebelled against the dominant abstract styles then in vogue. Her art portrays humble, everyday subjects, which she often rendered in minute detail.”

The second exhibition, “The Museum Project: An Artists’ Collective to Benefit Collections” includes 15 photographs donated to the Jule Collins Smith Museum in 2016. The original gift of the Museum Project included 23 individual prints and a portfolio combining 12 images with eight letterpress poems, created by nine different artists.

“The Museum Project is a very interesting approach taken by several creative photographers who wish to express their appreciation for a resource that was highly beneficial to their own development as artists – namely, the institution of public museums,” Harper said. “These successful artists and artist-educators understand the value in being able to view, first-hand, original works of art. As advanced as video monitors and smart device screens are today, they are no substitute for viewing a work of art that was created in another physical format. By donating their art work to museums around the country, the visual artists involved in the Museum Project ensure that students and future artists have similar opportunities as they did to engage directly with original objects.”

The museum staff salutes the Museum Project’s intent to “give back” to the museum world. The number of beneficiaries now approaches 100 museums. As the artists on exhibit here readily acknowledge, personal exposure to works of art was of prime importance as each set out on his or her creative path. It is the desire that future generations benefit similarly from the Museum Project’s efforts.

Museum admission is free; a five-dollar donation is appreciated. JCSM memberships start at $50 and support museum programs. For a complete list of museum hours, visit us at JCSM.Auburn.edu.

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