Well before the Art Museum of West Virginia University opened in 2015, Curator Robert Bridges was adding objects to WVU’s permanent collection of fine art. The endless task of securing significant works of art ensures access to these pieces for future generations of West Virginians. “Brilliant: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection,” celebrates some of the newest additions to the collection as well as several seldom-seen “gems.”
Opening Feb. 7, “Brilliant” features more than 50 original works of art organized around the notion of an interconnected web, with themes ranging from abstraction to current affairs. This multi-faceted selection offers a range of possible conversations around contemporary artistic practices and social issues.
“The museum collects objects across media that exemplify innovation, with a particular effort on diversifying its holdings with artworks by historically under-represented artists and from culturally diverse traditions,” Bridges said.
The permanent collection at WVU grows each year with gifts of art from individuals as well as through generous donations to dedicated acquisition funds at the WVU Foundation.
Two works in “Brilliant” are “Self Portrait on Float” by Derrick Adams and “Side (Beijing)” by Martin Puryear that were added to the collection thanks to the Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize, which allowed the Art Museum to spend $10,000 on one or more prints at the annual IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair.
Other artists featured in “Brilliant” include Polly Apfelbaum, Romare Bearden, Isabel Bishop, Jacob Hashimoto, Sam Gilliam, Leon Golub, Ellsworth Kelly, Wendy Red Star, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol.
The Art Museum of WVU will host multiple events around the exhibition, which is on display Feb. 7 through July 26. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Art Museum of WVU. The event is free and open to the public.
Other events hosted by the Art Museum around the exhibition include:
- Lunchtime Looks: Amy Alvarez
- 12 p.m. Feb. 7
WVU Teaching Assistant Professor Amy Alvarez is a Teaching Assistant Professor in WVU’s English department, and her research interests include Affrilachian Poetics, Hip Hop and Gender, and Contemporary Black and Latinx Poetry in North America and the Caribbean. Her talk will focus on the Museum’s newest exhibition, Brilliant, as an inspiration for ekphrastic writing. Ekphrasis is a vivid, often poetic, description of a work of art, and has a long literary tradition. Alvarez will discuss how she has used the Museum in her teaching as well as how visual art has influenced her own writing.
- Lunchtime Looks: Todd Tubutis
- 12 p.m. March 6
Art Museum of WVU director Todd Tubutis will lead an exploration of the Museum’s recently acquired photographs by Wendy Red Star. Red Star is an Apsáalooke (Crow) artist, and an important figure in contemporary Native American photography. Her Four Seasons series depicts her in traditional dress posed against vividly-colored artificial backdrops. They have the potential to stimulate powerful conversations about Native American representation and history.
“Brilliant” is sponsored by the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust. Additional support provided by the Friends of the Art Museum and donors to the Joyce Ice Fund for Exhibitions and Acquisitions. The Art Museum of WVU is open to the public Wednesday – Thursday 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.; and Friday – Sunday 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. For more information visit artmuseum.wvu.edu.