Works by some of the country’s most influential contemporary artists on display in Strange Weather

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Kehinde Wiley, Marshal Floriano Peixoto II
Collection of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation
Image: Aaron Wessling Photography

A new group exhibition presented by the UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH), features contemporary works of art by some of today’s leading artists today, from Kehinde Wiley to Hung Liu, drawn from one of the country’s most important collections of post-war and contemporary art.

On view from April 14 to August 14, 2022 at the MAH, Strange Times: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation is co-hosted by IAS Director Dr. Rachel Nelson and UCSC Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Jennifer González, and explores the relationships and boundaries between bodies and the environment.

“For strange weather, we selected works of art from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family’s Foundation, with climate change weighing heavily on our minds,” says Dr. Nelson. “While this is certainly not a didactic exhibition, living through wildfires and drought has motivated us to explore the impressive collections of over 19,000 objects for the different aesthetic approaches artists use. to illuminate the stories, experiences and socio-political contexts leading up to this moment.”

The artworks on display span five decades, from 1970 to 2020, and are brought together for how they creatively draw attention to the impact and history of forced migration, industrialization, global capitalism and traumas on humans and the contemporary landscape.

Julie Mehretu’s three prints, created in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, abstract a complex cartography of a rapidly changing climate. Kehinde Wiley’s large-scale painting, Marshal Floriano Peixoto II, 2009 monumentalizes questions of identity and nature. Wendy Red Star’s photographic series, “Four Seasons,” connects weather with the consumption and commodification of Native American culture.

The exhibition also includes works by luminaries such as Lorna Simpson, Edgar Heap of Birds, Carlos Amorales, Kiki Smith, Leonardo Drew, Joe Feddersen, Alison Saar and others.

“It was such a pleasure to work with my colleague Rachel Nelson to select works by extraordinary contemporary artists,” says Professor González. “We are thrilled to partner with the MAH to bring these works to our students and to the public in Santa Cruz. The exhibition provides insight into the richness of contemporary art and its ability to animate both our understanding of human history and the critical questions we face.

Jordan D. Schnitzer has made his collection an educational priority, supporting numerous art museums at the universities of Oregon and Washington and making his collection available to other museums and universities to borrow. He and his team have animated more than 180 exhibitions in 160 museums.
“I’ve often said that artists are chroniclers of our time,” says Schnitzer. “This exhibition of many of the most important artists of our time refers to this statement. The voice of art has the power to inspire us! Although we are challenged by the themes of this exhibition, it is an exhibition of hope.

parallel to strange weather, the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at UCSC will present a capsule exhibition of works by artist Glenn Ligon from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and the His Family Foundation. The capsule exhibit highlights Ligon’s influential works exploring how constructions of blackness in the United States permeate popular culture, literature and history, from slave stories to children’s coloring books.

For more information, visit the IAS exhibition page. Admission is free to the MAH for UCSC students, staff, and faculty.

Several programs are planned in connection with the exhibition, including one in person conversation between participating artist Leonardo Drew and Jordan D. Schnitzer on April 21; a UCSC Alumni Reception April 22; And one online chat with participating artist Edgar Heap of Birds on May 10.

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