The Alumni Show II: September 6 - December 8 in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

The Alumni Show II: September 6 - December 8 in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents
"The Alumni Show II"
Friday, September 6 — Sunday, December 8, 2013
Works by seventeen Wesleyan artists featured in new exhibition
which looks back at four decades in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Center for the Arts

Middletown, Conn.—In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Center for the Arts, "The Alumni Show II" will be on view in Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from Friday, September 6 through Sunday, December 8, 2013. Organized by guest curator John Ravenal '81, P'15, the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, the exhibition features work that spans a broad range of contemporary practice and media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation art, video art, performance, and films. The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is located at 283 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown, Connecticut. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 5pm. Gallery admission is free.

"The Alumni Show II" looks back at four decades of Wesleyan artists. Building on "The Alumni Show" held in November and December 2003 in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the CFA, this exhibition features an entirely new selection of seventeen alumni artists. The artists featured in "The Alumni Show II" are Ian Boyden '95, Stephanie Calvert '08, Rutherford Chang '02, Nicolas Collins '76 MA '79, Renée Green '81, Raphael Griswold '06, John Hatleberg '79, Gabriela Herman '03, Elsie Kagan '99, Liz Magic Laser '03, Danielle Mysliwiec '98, Ed Osborn '87, Juliana Romano '04, Aki Sasamoto '04, Arturo Vidich '03, Stephanie Washburn '03, and Ben Weiner '03. Please see below for more information about each of these artists.

"I felt strongly that the exhibition should make room for new voices, from both the next generation and those who had gone unrecognized in the first show in 2003," said guest curator John Ravenal. "A group show premised on affiliation with an alma mater inevitably raises the question of whether something additional connects the works. The exhibition’s broad spectrum of media accurately reflects the increasing breakdown of artistic hierarchies and boundaries that defines art of the past fifty years," said Mr. Ravenal.

"It’s difficult to think of a better way for the Center for the Arts to celebrate its 40th anniversary than to mount an exhibition of work from our extraordinary alumni body," said Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth '78. "'The Alumni Show II' gives us an opportunity to see how artists continue to build on their CFA experiences years after graduation. The exhibition is a reflection on the 40 years of CFA excellence, and it points forward to years of compelling work still to come," said President Roth.

The public is invited to attend the Opening Reception on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 from 5pm to 7pm. The opening reception is free, and will be followed at 7:30pm by "Centrifugal March," a free performance/installation by Aki Sasamoto '04 in Art Studio North.

Three films by Liz Magic Laser '03—"Distressed" (2009), "Mine" (2009), and "Flight" (2011)—will be shown at a free screening on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7pm at the Powell Family Cinema in the Center for Film Studies, located at 301 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus.

There will be a Homecoming/Family Weekend Reception on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 2pm to 4pm, with a talk at 2:30pm by guest curator John Ravenal. Special gallery hours on November 2 will be from Noon to 6pm, with the free event "We Buy White Albums" by Rutherford Chang '02 taking place from 2pm to 6pm. The public will be able to browse a collection of over 750 first-pressings of The Beatles’ "The White Album" (1968), and sell copies to Mr. Chang. He usually pays up to $20 per copy, and also happily accepts donations of copies of the album. He has also created a new version of the album—which visitors can play in the gallery—by layering recordings from 100 albums in his collection over one another.

The exhibition will be closed from Wednesday, November 20 through Monday, November 25, 2013 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

A commemorative catalogue will be available for $15. The 52-page catalogue includes an essay by John Ravenal, foreword by President Michael Roth, artists’ statements, and color illustrations of their works. Funders of the catalogue include Jeffrey Deitch ’74, The LeWitt Collection, Glenn Ligon ’82, and David Redden ’70 and Sotheby’s.

About the Artists in "The Alumni Show II" Exhibition

Ian Boyden '95 is artist-in-residence at Grass Mountain Residency for the Arts on the Oregon coast. He creates evocative, otherworldly drawings made with homemade pigments, often created from unusual materials such as crushed meteorites, shark teeth, freshwater pearls, and carbon sourced from the aftermath of forest fires.

Stephanie Calvert '08 creates detailed studies of mineral formations and precious gems, based on photographs and painted in oils on burnished aluminum panels.

Rutherford Chang '02 will be in residence to buy copies of The Beatles' "The White Album" at Wesleyan University on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 2pm to 6pm. His installation "We Buy White Albums" started in New York City (January through March 2013), then traveled to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art in June and July 2013. He catalogues and reorders familiar cultural markers by imposing a new, external logic.

Nicolas Collins '76 MA '79 is a composer, performing musician, and Professor in the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has made extensive use of homemade electronic circuitry, altered musical instruments, and found sound material, producing unexpected results from simple and familiar means. Mr. Collins was one of the artists featured in the exhibition "Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends)" curated by Andrea Miller-Keller in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery in November and December 2011.

Renée Green '81 is a conceptual artist, filmmaker, writer, and Director of the M.I.T. Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Collecting, and its related practices of deconstruction and reconstruction, often take the form of densely layered installations in her work.

Raphael Griswold '06 adapts his drawing method to emulate the mechanical process of a computer printer, touching on the issue of mutability of images.

John Hatleberg '79 is a conceptual gem artist who describes himself as the world’s leading counterfeiter of famous diamonds. His exact replica of the "Hope Diamond" is one of the featured works in "The Alumni Show II."

Gabriela Herman '03 is a portrait, fine art and lifestyle photographer who divides her time between Brooklyn, Martha’s Vineyard and Brazil. She offers intimate glimpses of women and men usually identified only by their blogger identities.
Elsie Kagan '99 creates stormy, monumentally-scaled paintings that plunge viewers into mythical or historical landscapes.

Liz Magic Laser '03 will have three of her films screened on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 7pm. She served as the commissioned artist for the 2013 Armory Show, one of the largest international contemporary art fairs. She makes performance-based art steeped in cross-disciplinary approaches, merging live theater, film, and video to deconstruct the mechanisms of political melodrama. Ms. Laser was one of the artists featured in the debut of the "Performance Now" exhibition curated by RoseLee Goldberg in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from September to December 2012. She was also part of a WESeminar about Performance Art in October 2012.

Danielle Mysliwiec '98 uses extruded strands of paint to create finely detailed abstract compositions that resemble hand-woven textiles. Ms. Mysliwiec was part of a WESeminar about Performance Art in October 2012.

Ed Osborn '87 is an Assistant Professor in the Visual Art Department at Brown University whose sound art pieces take many forms, including installation, sculpture, radio, video, performance, and public projects. Embracing the stillness and eerie quiet of the high Arctic, his "Albedo Prospect" in "The Alumni Show II" offers a vision of the immense scale and general strangeness of the polar landscape.

Juliana Romano '04 explores popular culture and mediated reality using the traditional genre of portraiture, reworking published images of celebrities and other, non-famous young women.

Aki Sasamoto '04 works in performance, sculpture, and dance. She recently performed at the Gwangju Biennial in South Korea and the Whitney Biennial in New York. With Arturo Vidich, she co-founded Culture Push, a non-profit arts organization in which diverse professionals meet through artist-led projects and cross-disciplinary symposia. Ms. Sasamoto was part of a WESeminar about Performance Art in October 2012.
Arturo Vidich '03 is a hybrid performance/visual artist who merges the scripted and improvised, live and taped. His boundary-pushing performances often feature intense relationships with animals as a means for exploring human identity. In his work "Body Island," rats climb freely over his limbs and torso as he navigates a small, damp room. With Aki Sasamoto, he co-founded Culture Push. Mr. Vidich was part of a WESeminar about Performance Art in October 2012.  

Stephanie Washburn '03 creates painterly photographs, staged images which stem from a literal mash-up of the digital and material. She is represented by Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles.

Ben Weiner '03 creates large-scale and extremely detailed photographic paintings of blobs of paint, suggesting uncanny resemblances to landscapes and the interior of bodies. He is represented by Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles.

About Guest Curator John Ravenal

John Ravenal is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Since 1998, Mr. Ravenal has organized numerous exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, including "Xu Bing: Tobacco Project" (2011); "Sally Mann: The Flesh and The Spirit" (2010); "Chuck Close: People Who Matter to Me" (2010); "Artificial Light" (2006); Robert Lazzarini’s first solo museum exhibition (2003); "Outer & Inner Space: A Video Exhibtion in Three Parts" (2002-3); and "Vanitas: Meditations on Life and Death in Contemporary Art" (2000).

In addition to museum books and catalogues, Mr. Ravenal’s publications include articles and essays, such as contributions to a monograph on "Donald Sultan" (Vendome Press, 2008) and the anthology "Reclaiming Female Agency: Feminist Art History After Postmodernism," edited by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard (University of California Press, 2005). Mr. Ravenal earned his M.A. and M.Phil. in Art History from Columbia University in New York. Prior to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, he was the Associate Curator of 20th-Century Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he worked from 1991 to 1998. Before that, he worked with Andrea Miller-Keller at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut as the Researcher in Contemporary Art. His first experience with curating took place at Wesleyan University in Professor John Paoletti’s senior seminar on the Sol LeWitt Collection.
From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Ravenal served as President of the Associate of Art Museum Curators, the North American professional organization for art museum curators in all fields. In 2012, he was a Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.