Ever since a significant part of the museum’s renovations was opened (as discussed in this post),
it’s a hop, skip, and jump to the main galleries from the parking garage. Before the atrium was opened, visitors had to meander past a small snack counter (primarily a break area for museum staff)
then navigate a bewildering maze of temporary tunnels.
One benefit from this temporary arrangement (actually the only benefit) was the student artwork that frequently festooned the tunnel walls. The museum, like most modern museums, has an extensive program of continuing education. I enjoy looking at student work, don’t you?
So I was happy to see another student exhibition hanging in the break area. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the works were by the museum staff and not their students. My mistaken impression, I realized, was due to a work hanging closest to the entrance, which was crude in content and style. While I was examining this painting, a museum guard remarked that she didn’t understand why such a tasteless work had be be placed where people were supposed to eat. That is overstating it, but the museum might have been better served by placing the piece toward the rear of the space instead of in a spot where everyone, including children, entering the museum from the parking garage would see it. Finally, why is it that such works are all too often burdened with laughingly pretentious titles?
The rest of the exhibition is well worth a visit—art school faculty standard stuff. All works are on the small side which is expected for such a small space. Several drawings were stout (a good thing, as when I tell my 7th-grade footballer “your defense was stout during the game”). The works of two painters especially stood out: Anthony Robinson and Jeremy Tugeau showed stylish oil portraits.
The annual staff exhibition has only recently been reinstated (last year’s was the first after a two-decade suspension). I don’t know why the annual staff exhibitions were stopped, but I am certainly happy they are once again on view. Anyone interested in what the people staffing the museum are up to should make the show part of their next visit.