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Davis, California

Friday, October 22, 2021

Manetti Shrem Museum now open to the public

DANIEL TAK / AGGIE
DANIEL TAK / AGGIE

UC Davis welcomes newest addition to campus

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Museum opened its doors to hordes of excited art enthusiasts on Nov. 13. The museum, located adjacent to the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, is the newest museum addition to the campus and intends to honor the artistic legacy of UC Davis.

On a Tuesday afternoon nearly a week after the grand opening, there was still a fairly large number of people at the museum to experience the sleek building and its exceptional collection. The building is unusual in its canopy-style ceiling that illuminates the interior with sunlight. It is not enclosed, and you are able to see the outside, which plays well into the museum’s goal: “Welcoming Open Minds with Open Arms.”

The farmlands and rows of crops surrounding the museum inspired the geometry of the Grand Canopy. The careful use of materials like aluminum, concrete, clear glass and wood complement the rays of light beaming in. The orientation and spacing of the canopy’s aluminum beams, more than 900 in all, create a clear, thought-out juxtaposition of light and shadow.

“The openness of this place makes it so beautiful,” said Heather Lim, a second-year nutritional science major and a museum attendee. “The architecture itself is something to stop and admire because it is so unique and innovative […] I don’t think I’ve ever been to a museum like this one.”

Lim explained how exhibitions like Out Our Way, which explores the development of the UC Davis Art Department, are ideal for seeing the world from others’ perspectives.

“I’m a big fan of these artworks because they provide ways for people to connect on a human level,” Lim said. “Growing up, [art] was never really emphasized, so I learned to appreciate it later on in life.”

There are also many other exhibitions and events happening at the museum, leaving many in awe.

“The arts make us look at things with a different view and forces us to learn,” said Dee Rodriguez, a second-year communication major and museum volunteer. “There are exhibits that delve into symbiosis between humans and animals, and ones that allow people to actually make their own works of art.”

Rodriguez was referring to the Hoof and Foot: A Field Study and A Pot for a Latch exhibitions, respectively, both currently on display at the museum.

The area surrounding the museum has also been enlivened by the opening, with this new attraction piquing the curiosity of many in and around Davis. Wes Chen, a third-year computer science major and employee at the Mondavi Center, has noticed the increase in local foot traffic.

“I’m in this area of campus a lot, and I’ve been [to the museum] and there has been a decent crowd during peak hours ever since its opening,” Chen said.

Whether one is interested in art or not, the Manetti Shrem Museum holds significance because it displays all that UC Davis has achieved since its founding. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the department was central to the Bay Area Funk art movement, nurturing such influential artists as ceramicist Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest and painter Wayne Thiebaud. Rodriguez emphasized the impact the museum has on the community.

“Sometimes UC Davis is overshadowed by some of the other UCs,” Rodriguez said. “The Manetti Shrem gives UC Davis a voice and proudly displays what we are known for for everyone to admire.”

 

Written by: Krishan Mithal — arts@theaggie.org

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