UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum Hosts Stunning Opening Reception

Image Courtesy of The Bottom Line Archive

Jessica Gang
Opinions Editor

On Friday, Oct. 5, the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UCSB hosted an opening reception celebrating their new Fall 2018 exhibits. The event, held onsite, featured the debuts of three new exhibits: All Under Heaven: Landscapes of China by Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney, Prints! The Joan and Stuart Levin Collection, and Hand Made: The Art of the Hand. Fresh off of a successful 2017-2018 year, the museum pulled off a splendid reception that showcased fresh, innovative, and stunning works of art.

The Art, Design, and Architecture Museum begins each new quarter with a clean slate of new exhibits, which all run from September to December. The museum also houses two year-long exhibits: Selections from the Permanent Collection, which “brings together a range of objects from different periods and cultures from the Museum’s holdings,” and UCSB Campus Architecture: Design and Social Change, which “presents a chronological view of the planning and design of the UCSB campus,” according to UCSB’s AD&A Museum website.

Despite the fact that both year-long collections occupy a significant part of the museum itself, the undeniable stars of the show at the reception were its three new exhibits. All Under Heaven is a showcase of collaborative work by modern Chinese brush painter Arnold Chang and 20th-century American photographer Michael Cherney. The two disparate artists share a common love for Chinese art and derive inspiration from the awe-inspiring beauty of the Chinese landscape.

Hand Made: The Art of the Hand, is a collection of phalange-related pieces from the museum’s personal collection that aims to answer the question: “What is it about the human hand that retains such fascination?” The exhibit displays a number of different representations of hands — from the startlingly life-like all the way to the bemusingly abstract.

Finally, Prints! is a collection of curated prints from the Joan and Stuart Levin Collection. The Levins are well-known Los Angeles-based art collectors who moved to New York City in 1962, and much of the dynamism of the art they collected stems from the overwhelming feeling of living in New York throughout the ’60s.

The reception held last Friday primarily served as an introduction to the three new exhibits housed in the museum. Rather than having a formal structure with a schedule or designated speaker, the one-and-a-half-hour event was an opportunity for members of the public to mingle with everyone from exhibit curators and museum employees to art aficionados and museum patrons. Even casual passers-by (perhaps lured in by the sprawling snack table) were able to take advantage of the museum’s free admission policy, wandering in and immediately having the chance to network with a community of art lovers.

The largest collection currently on display at the AD&A is without a doubt the Prints! collection, which occupies the entirety of the largest gallery in the museum. Framed prints wrap around the four walls of the showroom and take up two columns placed in the middle of the gallery space. Prints! contains the work of famed abstract expressionist artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns. The exhibit was curated by Sarah Bane, a current PhD candidate in Art History, who worked closely with the Levins to ensure that the prints chosen for display focused on art that transformed the contemporary landscape.  

However, my personal favorite of all the exhibits was All Under Heaven, not only because I identified with the work on a deeply personal level, but also because it was the only exhibit that featured two artists working in tandem. Although Chang and Cherney operate using two completely different forms of media, they are bonded by a shared appreciation of Chinese art and culture that shines through every landscape they create, both separately and together.

Regardless of personal favorites, it’s clear that the reception and the exhibits were met with enormous success. The reception celebrates the dedication and achievement of every person involved in the creation and implementation of the exhibits, from artists and curators to museum employees and interns.

For more information about the Art, Design, and Architecture Museum at UCSB, visit their website at http://www.museum.ucsb.edu/. Prints!, All Under Heaven, and Hand Made will all be on display at the museum from September 29th to December 9th.