This past Saturday was the opening of the 2020 faculty exhibition at the Chazen Museum. This year, which happens to be the museum's 50th anniversary, the Chazen is putting on a show that exhibits the work of faculty and teaching staff who use art-making techniques in their teaching and research. The collection includes pieces from current faculty that are paired with pieces from the Chazen's permanent collection, in an attempt to engage viewers with works in the museum that are often overlooked. The art in this exhibit explores the relationship between the artists' work, and specific works within the museums collection.
The majority of the exhibition can be seen in the first floor Rowland Gallery, but there are a few other pieces that are spread out among the other galleries in the museum.
This exhibition expertly paired performance art, music and visual art to create a holistic experience for the viewer. One example of this is the work of Jean Laurenz, who is an assistant professor in the music department. Her performance art piece, titled “Koizumi”, explores how one can be skeptical of modernity, while still being forced to embrace it. Her work combines traditional chamber music with digital art to show both the polarity and synergy that occur when pairing the traditional with the modern. This work is situated next to a piece from the Chazen's archives entitled “Meltdown” by Manabu Ikeda. They utilize surrealism to showcase the push and pull which occurs when the delicate balance of the traditional world is upset. Both of these works criticize, while simultaneously embracing, the future of society.
One of the featured artists displayed in the main floor Rowland Gallery is Jason Ruhl, who works in the School of Education. He created mixed-media collages which are inspired by the Chazen's archive of Tandem Press prints. The collages that he creates are chaotic but clearly exemplify his artistic talent, and give admiration to the works that inspired him.
Overall, this exhibition demonstrated the incredible artistic talent that the faculty at UW-Madison possess. Whether it is printmaking, painting, musical performance or sculpture, the staff at this university are able to use art to inspire and educate, making this exhibit a must see.