The 2011 Exhibition Schedule

Students looking at print

Student curators and their faculty advisor examine a print in the UMFA collection

Collecting Knowledge: Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosity
January 25 through May 15, 2011

Collecting Knowledge: Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosity explores items that were typically found in cabinets of curiosity in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe, including prints, books, scientific instruments, and objects obtained through travel. This exhibition examines the people who created cabinets of curiosity, their strategies for classifying and grouping items, and how they used this knowledge to make sense of their world.

During Fall Semester 2010, four graduate students in the University of Utah Department of Art and Art History gained first-hand knowledge of the work involved in creating an exhibition. The result of their hard work is the exhibition Collecting Knowledge: Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosity. The students were advised by Professor Sheila Muller and they worked closely with UMFA staff to complete all necessary steps for curating an exhibition— from developing exhibition themes to selecting the objects; from writing the object label text to planning the exhibition design; and from securing related public programs to creating an effective marketing plan.

Helen Levitt photograph

Helen Levitt, New York City, chromogenic color print on paper, UMFA1989.018.002 Pearl, Dr. James E. & Debra Photographic Collection, collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, © Estate of Helen Levitt, Courtesy Laurence Miller Gallery, New York

Helen Levitt Photographs
February 24 through June 12, 2011

“Helen Levitt has had the uncanny ability to offer us those brief, revealing moments in everyday life that give our time here meaning.”
– Robert Coles
One of the great photographers of the twentieth century, Helen Levitt took the activity of city streets as her primary subject, paying special attention to the children for whom the street served as a playground. This presentation of photographs drawn from the UMFA’s collection includes representative works from the late 1930s and early 1940s-when Levitt emerged as a key member of the New York School photographers-as well as later photographs from her long and accomplished career. Together these works highlight Levitt’s astonishing capacity for capturing lyrical and mysterious moments in the everyday life of the city.


Rainbow Spiral

Peter Coffin, Untitled (Rainbow), detail, 2005, 30 inkjet prints, t-pins, courtesy of the artist

The Smithson Effect
March 10 through July 11, 2011

The Smithson Effect aims to narrate a widely recognized, yet little discussed story: that of Robert Smithson’s pervasive presence in contemporary art since the 1990s. While he remains best known for his pioneering earthworks, such as Spiral Jetty in Utah’s Great Salt Lake, Smithson’s influence extends far beyond his innovative use of earth as a medium. The artist’s significance for contemporary artists depends on the complex relationships between the varied mediums in which he worked and the matrix of meanings generated by his rethinking of the relationship between process and the studio, between objects and exhibition, between site and non-site. Surveying a broad spectrum of international artists and artist collaboratives, The Smithson Effect explores questions surrounding the conventions of studio practice, experimental geography, 1960s social activism, and the recovery of site-oriented practices.

salt 3
May 26 – August 21, 2011

Artist and details TBA

salt (sôlt)
1. A colorless or white crystalline solid used extensively in ground or granulated form as a food seasoning and preservative.
2. An element that gives flavor or zest.
3. Sharp, lively wit.
4. A mineral sharing definitive characteristics with Utah’s capital city.

The UMFA’s salt series reflects the international impact of contemporary art today, forging local connections to the global, and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name.

LeConte Stewart’s West: Depression Era Art
July 21 though November 27, 2011

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to present a groundbreaking exhibition of the work of LeConte Stewart titled LeConte Stewart’s West: Art of the Great Depression. Over seventy-five oil paintings of his Depression Era and American Scene paintings will be brought together for the first time. In a career that spanned eighty years, LeConte Stewart (1891-1990) created many of the most powerful and intimate images of the Utah landscape. While he is commonly known for his oil paintings and many fine watercolors, he was also a very talented printmaker and etcher. It is his oil paintings, however, that have received the widest recognition and popular appeal among both collectors and viewers–especially those works that have defined his personal vision of the era of the Great Depression era in Utah.

Stewart’s incisive images of the urban and rural West offer a penetrating historical vision of the complexities of American life during the 1930s. The artist’s extraordinary interpretations of this era emerge in scenes of impermanence and social isolation, set alongside images of progress-telephone lines, train tracks and factories. Stewart’s regional style evolved from his studies in New York at the Art Students League. His direct exposure to work of The Eight–a group of social realist painters who exhibited together under the powerful personality of Robert Henri, influenced him, but so too did his studies with Redfield, Schofield and especially John F. Carlson. Like Edward Hopper, with whom his depression era art is often compared, Stewart resisted European modernism to develop his own regional style.

Fall 2011

Explore creative connections through Color, an exhibition investigating the relationship that color has to color, and to artists and the audience. This exhibition brings together more than twenty diverse objects from the UMFA’s permanent collection, and features a fun, interactive collage wall that allows visitors to create their own color compositions.

V. Douglas Snow Retrospective (Title TBA)
September-December 2011

The UMFA and Salt Lake Art Center will together mount a retrospective exhibition to commemorate the life and work of V. Douglas Snow (1927-2009), who was a professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Utah.  The UMFA’s Great Hall will feature large-scale paintings by Snow, while SLAC will present paintings, drawings, prints, and illustrations.  Organized by artist Frank McEntire, the project will also include tours of Snow’s public murals throughout Salt Lake City and will be accompanied by a catalogue.

David Burnett: Too Close
October 6, 2011 – January 29, 2012

For over four decades, photojournalist David Burnett has covered wars, political events, celebrities, and everyday people. Burnett’s iconic photographs have won numerous awards and he was recently named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” by American Photo magazine. David Burnett: Too Close will present a broad selection of works by this renowned photographer.

On the Grid
December 22, 2011 – April 22, 2012

On the Grid will explore the grid as an emblem of modernity – a visualization of modern life’s belief in rationality and industrial progress, comprising everything from the city plan to the power grid, from modernist painting to the “nets” of virtual space.  Seeking affinities between these two bodies of material, On the Grid will reflect on questions of geometry, standardization, mass production, and the anti-natural, playing upon the contemporary interest in living “off the grid”.


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