Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Just the Thing! Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture and the Object
outdoor sculpture takes an amusing detour as everyday objects are transformed before the viewers' eyes in Just the Thing! Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture and the Object. The exhibition opens June 12, 1998 in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum's sculpture garden. It will remain on view into the new millennium, through May 2000.
The public is invited to an opening reception in the Margaret Woodson Fisher Sculpture gallery on Friday, June 12, from 6-7 p.m. At 7 p.m. guests move indoors to hear guest curator Nick Capasso discuss the work being done by the twelve artists he selected for Just the Thing! Capasso is associate curator at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts.
A woman's high heel, a push broom, and a lucky rabbit's foot -- consider these ordinary, mass-produced objects enlarged to enormous proportions. In twelve not-so-ordinary sculptures Just the Thing! turns our perceptions upside down by presenting such standard objects in an ingenious size and setting.
Historically, the focus of sculpture was on the face and figure, with artists exclusively representing or commemorating people or animals. Little regard was paid to practical, inanimate objects until 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Claes Oldenburg approached them differently. This aesthetic revolution transformed the customary sculptural practice by incorporating workaday items into works of art themselves.
The twelve pieces in Just the Thing! celebrate this new artistic regime and take the viewer by surprise. After all, who expects a pair of grandfather clocks or a wooden bed covered with over 600 candy kisses in an outdoor setting? The pieces in the exhibition question our usual notions by altering them not only in scale and context, but materials used as well. For example, Christopher Frost made his grandfather clocks out of concrete, and John Ruppert created his grouping of four pumpkins from aluminum.
A Just the Thing! gamebook for children and a handy informative guide for adults featuring all works in the exhibition can be picked up free of charge in the Sculpture Gallery.
In addition to the opening reception, several other programs are planned in the Sculpture Gallery this summer. A free concert series swings into action on Wednesday, June 24, when the John Altenburgh Jazz Ensemble, with saxophonist John Greiner, performs from 6 - 8 p.m. The Museum's salute to Wisconsin's Sesquicentennial takes place on Tuesday, August 4, when the Madison Brass Quintet takes center stage with an upbeat historical repertoire. The Summer Concert Series is a perfect way to enjoy a warm evening; refreshments, lawn chairs, and blankets are encouraged. (In case of rain, the music moves to the Museum's Lower Level, where refreshments are not allowed.)
For kids ages 6-10, a free movement workshop in the garden will creatively harness youthful summertime energy. Led by Jeanne Bresciani, the workshop will beheld outdoors on Wednesday, June 17, from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Ms. Bresciani is the guest artist at the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet, and artistic director of the Isadora Duncan International Institute, New York City. Space is limited to 25 participants; please call 845-7010 to register.
Twelve local businesses have underwritten the cost of installing the sculptures of Just the Thing! They include Associated Bank and Associated Trust, B. Folgert Advertising, Grebe's Ace Hardware and Appliances, Grischke & Bremer S.C., HT Cobblery, Jerry's Music, LaPaul Furs, Lori L, Marathon Communications' New Media Group, Scottie's Furnishings & Interiors, and Shepherd & Schaller Sporting Goods, all of Wausau; and River Valley State Bank, Rothschild.
The Woodson Art Museum's programs and exhibitions are supported by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Federal agency.
Left above: Karen Giusti, Bon Chance Bebe, 1998,polyfoam, synthetic fur, aluminum; Above right: Niki Ketchman, The Height of Fashion, 1996
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