Ulrich Museum of Art unveils four new exhibitions
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Ulrich Museum of Art unveils four new exhibitions
Installation shot of the exhibition Gordon Parks: I, too, am America.

WICHITA, KAN.- After a challenging 2020 that saw Wichita State University's art museum close to the public for much of the year, the Ulrich Museum of Art is finally open again.

On display now: Gordon Parks: I, too, am America; Renée Stout: Ghosts; The XIII Faculty Biennial: It’s All Part of the Process; and Solving for X=Identity: Sharing Matrilineal Memories at WSU. The exhibitions will remain on display at the Ulrich through May 8, 2021.

The spring exhibitions offer a broad range of subjects for consideration, from the social justice themes of Kansas-born photographer Gordon Parks to issues of Black diasporic culture in Renée Stout’s Ghosts to the demonstration of artistic process in the 23rd faculty biennial. The latest installment of the Solving for X series, Solving for X=Identity, offers a view into the research of a team of dance and sociology faculty at WSU, where stories of mothers and grandmothers evoke memories of home.

Ulrich Director Leslie Brothers said she is excited to have visitors back in the Museum.

"We are offering unique and shared experiences both online and now back in the galleries, where visitors can make those personal connections with the actual works of art."

Two of the Ulrich’s exhibitions—the ones featuring artists Gordon Parks and Renée Stout—are part of a citywide partnership with the Wichita Art Museum, The Kansas African American Museum, and Art Partners Wichita called “African American Art in the 20thCentury: A Wichita Collaboration.” Each museum will feature exhibitions that recognize and honor the work of African American artists. Art Partners has developed classroom learning opportunities for students of all ages in concert with these art exhibitions, and each organization will present a broad range of public programs.

The Spring 2021 Exhibitions:

Gordon Parks: I, too, am America
The Ulrich Museum’s holdings of over 170 photographs by Gordon Parks (1912-2006), one of the most preeminent photographers of the 20thcentury, are a rich resource that lends itself to repeated viewings through new perspectives. The current selection of 40 photographs from the Ulrich collection focuses on the powerful images of children and families that Parks created throughout his career and particularly during his time at LIFE magazine, where he crafted some of the most impactful journalistic coverage of issues and personalities connected to the Civil Rights movement. LIFE hired Parks in 1949 as its first African American staff photographer and writer, and he stayed there until 1972. This exhibition highlights pieces from seven of the stories Parks produced at LIFE, as well as two portfolios created before and after his time at the magazine.

Renée Stout: Ghosts
Renée Stout (b. 1958) is a contemporary American artist whose work is renowned for its potent reflections on African American heritage and the visual culture of the African diaspora. This exhibition highlights her 2012 portfolio Ghosts,which is part of the Ulrich Museum collection. In these haunting prints, Stout explores the ideas and visual language of Haitian Voudou and American Voodoo and Hoodoo. Stout’s work has been deeply influenced by her decades of research into the art and traditions of both Africa and African diasporas. To honor this influence and help our audiences better understand the connections that Stout’s work makes, this exhibition also incorporates six objects from the collection of Wichita State University’s Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology. All six objects come from the Yoruba culture of present-day Nigeria, which historically had a great influence on Black diasporic culture in the Americas and whose art is particularly well represented in the Holmes collection.

The Faculty XXIII Biennial: It’s All Part of the Process
The Faculty Biennial is a tradition in its forty-sixth year on the WSU campus and is the longest-running series of exhibitions at the Ulrich Museum. The Biennial represents the breadth of creative work and research being undertaken by the faculty of the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries (ADCI). The 2021 edition will showcase the faculty’s work in art history, art education, ceramics, curatorial practice, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and new media. The biennial’s theme, It’s All Part of the Process, seeks to prompt reflections and start conversations about each faculty member’s personal process, highlighting the diversity of activities that contribute to creative practice, from research to studio time to interactions with colleagues and students, and beyond.

Solving for X=Identity: Sharing Matrilineal Memories at WSU
Solving for X=Identity: Sharing Matrilineal Memories at WSU is the fourth exhibition in the Solving for X series. The participatory exhibition is focused on collecting memories of home for WSU students, faculty and staff. It is a collaboration with Cheyla Clawson, Associate Director of the School of Performing Arts and Assistant Professor of Dance and Dr. Twyla Hill Professor of Sociology.

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