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Thursday, May 23, 2024

What’s new at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art?

Recent installations offer dynamic art-viewing experiences   


By ANA BACH arts@theaggie.org

At the beginning of Oct., many new installations were put into place at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, located on the edge of campus. The museum offers many experiences for all age groups, such as guest speakers, food, music and hands-on art activities. The main attractions, however, are the seasonally featured artists and the pieces that are showcased from their latest collections. 

Deborah Butterfield is an American sculptor based out of Bozeman, Montana. She practices her craft on a small farm where she and her equally artistic husband, John Buck, live. When they aren’t in Montana, both of them also work out of a studio space in Hawaii. The UC Davis alumna has been exploring horses in many of her works for the past 50 years. Studying their form and structure has allowed her to create one of her largest compilations of work, “P.S. These are not horses.” The intention that lies behind the title might feel misleading, but the works provide the viewer with a deeper understanding of the equine world; many of the sculptures are abstractions of the horse’s corporeal form. Additionally, she experiments with bronze to create these lifesize sculptures. Butterfield also implemented some earlier ceramic pieces from her time spent studying at UC Davis into the collection. 

Ayanah Moor, another artist with an exhibition currently on display at the Shrem, utilizes similar methods of abstraction to question our current modes of communication and how we can use them to view art. Aside from painting, Moor also makes use of print, video, mixed media and performance art. The inspiration for her work comes from the motivation to interrogate identity in the hopes of digging deeper into its core. “Undercover” gives viewers an outlet to explore their own identity and offers a new outlook on finding the root of one’s self through the abstract medium. The audience is encouraged to grapple with the idea of gender, race and sexuality while viewing the installation. 

UC Davis Professor and activist Emeritus Malaquias Montoya takes on a new form of political printmaking to advocate for social justice. Prior to teaching at UC Davis, he maintained a lead position in the social serigraphy movement of the mid-1960s. In “Malaquias Montoya and the Legacies of a Printed Resistance,” his exhibition currently up for view at the Shrem, he has collaborated with many other artists to bring these vivid designs to life, make a statement and further promote social justice. 

Lastly, Alicia Eggert has one piece that is present alongside the other installations. Eggert utilizes language and time instead of common art mediums such as paint or clay. “This Present Moment” uses neon signage to modify the original phrase “This present moment used to be the unimaginable future” into the simpler phrase “This moment used to be the future.” The brightness of the neon light blatantly addresses the viewer, forcing them to grapple with the ambiguous statement. Students are welcome to contemplate their past, present and future selves when viewing this piece. 

The Manetti Shrem Museum is a wonderful resource for many UC Davis students as well as the general Davis community. Aside from the many events that the museum hosts, the works they house are just as impressive and should be explored. Many of the installations will be on view until June 2024. 


Written By: Ana Bach arts@theaggie.org



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