WSU paying tribute to modern art

Submitted photo Artists installing a Sol LeWitt wall drawing in Wright State’s Rike Hall in 1981.

Submitted photo Artists installing a Sol LeWitt wall drawing in Wright State’s Rike Hall in 1981.

Greene County News

FAIRBORN — The re-installation of a geometrical wall drawing originally overseen by a founder of Conceptual Art plus performances by an internationally acclaimed percussion ensemble and celebrated dance company will highlight Wright State University’s tribute to Modern Art.

“MODERN: Reimagining the New. A window into the making of the Modern Art movement” is the theme to the series of College of Liberal Arts events that will feature work by artist Sol LeWitt, Sō Percussion and Dwight Rhoden and his Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

“The end result is going to be a very, very significant event here on campus for pretty much the whole year,” said Hank Dahlman, director of Wright State’s Collaborative Education, Leadership and Innovation in the Arts (CELIA). “It will answer two questions — where have we been and where are we going?”

The events, which begin Thursday, Jan. 19 and run through Thursday, Sept. 28, will occur under the direction of three CELIA Fellows: Stefan Chinov, associate professor of art and art history; Gerald Noble, director of percussion; and Gina Walther, associate professor of dance.

LeWitt, who died in 2007, is regarded as a founder of both minimal and conceptual art. His prolific two and three-dimensional work includes more than 1,200 wall drawings as well as hundreds of works on paper extending to structures in the form of towers, pyramids, geometric forms and progressions. The works range in size from gallery-sized installations to monumental outdoor pieces.

In 1981, LeWitt wall drawings were installed at what is now the Trading Room in Wright State’s Rike Hall. They were done in pencil and chalk over nearly the entire length of a 69-foot-long wall. The four geometric designs were intended to be drawn within the shape of a cube, but were instead drawn horizontally because of the shape of the wall. The drawings were lost when the wall was torn down during renovation.

As part of Wright State’s tribute to Modern Art, the designs will be re-drawn in the shape of a cube on a blank wall in the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries in the university’s Creative Arts Center. Visiting professional artists selected by the LeWitt Foundation with the help of Wright State faculty and students intend to begin drawing on Monday, Feb. 6 and finish by Thursday, Feb. 16. LeWitt rarely executed his own drawings, but rather provided explicit, detailed instructions on how they were to be drawn.

Dahlman said the re-installation is a way to show how the same idea can be executed in different ways – something those in the Modern Art movement were interested in examining.

“Art is never exactly the same way twice,” he said. “As an art lover, I think immediately of the studies that Monet did of his lily pond – never two ways the same, always different light, always different times of year.”

In addition to the re-installation, there will be a Curatorial Talk on LeWitt at the Dayton Art Institute by Chinov and Susan Martis, the institute’s curator of education, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19. And 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, the institute will have a public screening of “Sol LeWitt,” a documentary film by Chris Teerinks. A second public screening of the film will occur from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at the Stein Galleries and include a panel discussion with Chinov and Karla Huebner, associate professor of art and art history.

John Hogan, who guided and oversaw most of the LeWitt installations and is considered the world’s foremost expert on LeWitt’s art, will lecture at Wright State Stein Galleries 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12, prior to the public opening of the re-installed LeWitt wall art. Hogan is installation director and archivist of Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings housed at the Yale University Art Gallery.

“There is a connection between what John Hogan and his people will be doing in terms of executing the art that musicians and dancers also do,” said Dahlman. “They are often told: ‘Here are the instructions; now make the art happen.’”

The musical component of Wright State’s Modern Art tribute will feature the Sō Percussion Residency. Sō Percussion is based at Princeton University, where the group offers educational work and performs concerts. The four-member group includes Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting.

“The idea of percussion ensembles is part of this overarching theme of Modernism,” said Dahlman. “Percussion is one of those things that has been with us since the beginning of time, but it’s just been in the last 100 years where it has reached a level of maturity where it has become its own art form, not just being used to communicate or ceremonially in religious and military settings.”

Sō Percussion will begin its residency at Wright State Thursday, Jan. 26, collaborating with Noble, Michael Burritt and Jon Bennett of the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, Rob Ferguson of Matrix Performing Arts and Nick Angelis, assistant band director at the University of Cincinnati. On Friday, Jan. 27, Sō Percussion will take part in a festival at the Creative Arts Center, with master classes and clinics. On Saturday, Jan. 28, the group will perform in concert at Wright State’s Schuster Hall.

The entire MODERN program is presented as part of CELIA’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Series with generous support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Most scheduled events are free and open to the public.

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Submitted photo Artists installing a Sol LeWitt wall drawing in Wright State’s Rike Hall in 1981.×378-1.jpgSubmitted photo Artists installing a Sol LeWitt wall drawing in Wright State’s Rike Hall in 1981.

Story courtesy of Wright State University.

Story courtesy of Wright State University.