Clinton, NY – Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will celebrate five years as one of New York’s newest innovative cultural institutions, serving Hamilton’s students and faculty, as well as regional and national audiences. Founded in 2012, the Wellin mirrors the liberal arts experience by presenting exhibitions and artists that connect to a wide range of disciplines and inspire a dialogue about the arts that is global in its scope. The museum also features a soaring, visible archive and openstorage, allowing for unprecedented access to a collection of over 6,000 works of cross-cultural art and artifacts that span millennia.
In tandem with this anniversary year, the Wellin Museum is pleased to share news of an important endowment to the institution, as well as the Museum’s major 2017 exhibitions and new acquisitions.
Endowment and Directorship Title
This January, Hamilton College trustee Linda E. Johnson – a 1980 graduate – established the Johnson-Pote Museum Director Fund in support of the Wellin’s director’s position, which is currently held by Tracy L. Adler. The endowed directorship is named for Johnson and her late husband, Harold W. Pote, both ardent advocates for the arts. Due to this generous gift, Adler will become the first Johnson-Pote Director of the Wellin. Adler notes, “I am grateful to Linda for her staunch support and advice over the last four and a half years since the museum’s founding. As a teaching museum, our programs reflect the outstanding liberal arts education Hamilton provides, allowing for unexpected and fruitful exchanges and activities that continue to engage students, faculty, the community, and beyond.”
Exhibitions During the Anniversary Year
Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play
February 18, 2017 – July 2, 2017
With the exhibition Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play, the Wellin will present a mid-career survey curated by Tracy L. Adler, featuring two-site specific murals created with the assistance of Hamilton College students, as well as paintings, ceramics, works on paper, and a newly published graphic memoir Playground of My Mind. The first solo museum show of Jacquette’s work in more than a decade, Unrequited and Acts of Play features loans from U.S. and European collections, and many new pieces made for this exhibition that have never before been exhibited. Comprising two distinct but related bodies of Jacquette’s work, the exhibition includes paintings that explore the challenge of navigating one's own identity and self-worth through the contemporary media landscape that surrounds us (the “Unrequited” in the title) and the nostalgia of 1970s playgrounds (the “Acts of Play” in the title). Jacquette’s oil paintings focus on her fascination with consumption, commodification, and the desires evoked and exploited by the advertising and luxury industries. Her profoundly personal graphic memoir published from gouache works on paper entitled Playground of My Mind is inspired by adventure playgrounds designed in New York and Amsterdam during the 1960s and 1970s. It is copublished by DelMonico Books • Prestel and the Wellin Museum of Art.
Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions: The Wellin Museum of Art Fifth Anniversary Collection Exhibition
September 9 – December 10, 2017
Celebrating the five-year anniversary of the founding of the Wellin, this exhibition showcases selections from the permanent collection, highlighting works acquired throughout the long history of Hamilton College as well as recent acquisitions. These objects span many eras and cultures and represent a range of mediums. A rich educational resource, the Wellin’s collection is being carefully shaped to mirror the diverse academic disciplines at Hamilton College and to serve as a vital cross-curricular teaching tool.
The Wellin has recently acquired such significant contemporary works as Jeffrey Gibson’s sculpture A Very Easy Death (2015), Yun-Fei Ji’s drawing The Vendors and the Wind (2014), Firelei Baez’s paper work Amidst the future and present there is a memory table (2013), Elias Sime’s mixed media work Tightrope,Familiar Yet Complex (2016), and Julia Jacquette’s painting Water (2010). Other new acquisitions include works on paper by Lorna Simpson, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Elizabeth Catlett; a group of Song Dynasty ceramics; and a large selection of twentieth century American photographs by artists such as Danny Lyon, Leonard Freed, and Arthur Rothstein.
About the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Designed by Machado Silvetti, the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College opened in October 2012. Through its exhibitions, collection, public programs, and educational outreach, the museum promotes interdisciplinary approaches and the crossfertilization of concepts and ideas vital to a liberal arts education. The museum works with emerging and established artists and collaborates with Hamilton students and faculty to develop programming exploring a wide range of disciplines. The museum features a 27- foot-high visible archive, a 6,200-square-foot exhibition space, and other amenities that foster common exchange and learning.
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