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Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

Manetti Shrem Museum reopens with new exhibitions

Two new exhibitions are available for visitors to experience after the museum staff’s hard work through the pandemic

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Museum of Art reopened on June 3 with timed tickets. New exhibits such as “Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation” and Arnold Joseph Kemp’s exhibition “I would survive. I could survive. I should survive,” have been curated and installed to welcome visitors back.

    “In ‘Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation,’ visitors will be able to explore Professor Thiebaud’s career achievement through the works of a new generation of contemporary artists, many of whom are his former students, and who were profoundly influenced by him in a variety of ways,” said Rachel Teagle, the founding director, via email. “Ideas of identity, self-making and self-reflection are explored in Arnold Kemp’s exhibition ‘I would survive. I could survive. I should survive,’ curated by Manetti Shrem Scholar-in-Residence Sampada Aranke. Both exhibits feature works made or reworked during the pandemic, which shows the vitality and promise of painting, even during the most challenging times.”

    The pandemic temporarily closed the museum but the staff continued to work hard to bring art to the public. Through a number of projects that utilized online resources, the Shrem Manetti Museum staff created activities to bring the magic of art to those at home. 

“Within a few weeks of the campus closing, we started Manetti Shrem Museum At Home, a themed weekly newsletter to keep our community connected and engaged with art,” said Randy Roberts, the deputy director, via email. “It featured long-read essays from art scholars and faculty, activities such as a See & Sketch campus walk and also inspired Build it With Brandon, a YouTube tutorial series on crafts made from toilet-paper tubes.”

Their work continued to bring important perspectives and topics to light despite the circumstances.

“We also launched interACT, making our Zoom webinar platform available to amplify BIPOC voices,” Roberts said. “Through this platform, the museum hosted the Black Fall Welcome, Davis Cherry Blossom Festival, and many other important events and programs.”

    In addition to collaborating on online experiences, the staff observed proper protocols to work on the exhibits in preparation for reopening.

    “There were many unknowns that came with the pandemic, and timing was definitely among them,” Roberts said. “However, a subgroup of museum staff began proactively drafting reopening plans and scenarios in late 2020, covering everything from reconfiguring office space to rethinking how to safely accommodate visitors. Installing new exhibits for visitors to see was also a major challenge during lockdown, with museums closed and shipping heavily impacted.”

During the Manetti Shrem Museum Virtual Re-opening Ceremony on May 23, Teagle expressed the importance of the long-awaited reopening. 

“The museum is the community that you have helped us form, and we are very hopeful that before the end of these exhibitions, we will have an opportunity to celebrate together, and that will be the real party, but this is a great start,” Teagle said. “It’s been a big year. There’s been loss, there’s been joy. How lucky we are to have art as part of what heals us as individuals and as a community, and we need you. We need you back in the museum to help us complete our community.”
Written by: Christine Lee— campus@theaggie.org


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