A special reception on Friday (Dec. 7) will mark the closing of “Language as Medium,” an exhibit featuring the work of seven internationally known artists at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center Gallery. The pieces show text being used to question cultural norms and messages.
The reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. and is hosted by gallery director and curator Marc Mitchell. The exhibit showcases the work of artists Mel Bochner, Peter Downsbrough, Alicia Eggert, Dana Frankfort, Jenny Holzer, Kay Rosen and Lawrence Weiner.
“These artists have consistently utilized text as their primary imagery and content,” Mitchell said. “I wanted to create a platform to highlight how cultural trends are reflected in the ways in which people converse. More importantly, I wanted our students to see how items such as gender, notions of power, political rhetoric, and popular culture all weave their way into colloquial language patterns.”
Mitchell said most artists who’ve shown at the Fine Arts Center Gallery have work in the collections of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Kemper Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“This allows the community to have another access point to encounter artwork that will challenge and thrill visitors,” he said.
Mitchell has been curator and director of exhibitions since 2014 and is also an associate professor of art. He said a gallery has been located within the Fine Arts Center since it’s opening in the early 1950s and he wants to increase public awareness of what it offers.
“A lot of credit should be given to the university, as well as David Durst, who served as chairman of the Department of Art in the late 1940s. The building and the education and programming that have occurred within the space have helped to shape the artistic landscape of Arkansas,” Mitchell said.
The gallery hosts three professional exhibitions per year, as well as student exhibitions.
“It’s important for me, as well as the School of Art, that our students have access to contemporary art that is normally found in major markets (such as NYC, Chicago, and LA) here on campus,” he said.
The School of Art has started to use the Walker-Stone House in Fayetteville for small exhibitions featuring student work.
“Since the Fine Arts Center was built by Edward Durell Stone, utilizing the Walker-Stone House for student exhibitions feels like a lovely synergy,” Mitchell said.
The gallery is located on the first-floor main lobby of the Fine Arts Center Building. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.