Center: “Problem Girls” by Steve Hansen. Insets: Details from “inconsequentially SPECTACULAR” by Chad Hartwig. (Photo courtesy of SNITE Museum of Art)
"Inconsequentially SPECTACULAR” by Chad Hartwig. (Photo courtesy of SNITE Museum of Art)

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Where are they now?

Published 10:08am Thursday, July 10, 2014

SBMA and Snite exhibitions showcase the sculptural work of Notre Dame alumni

SOUTH BEND—This summer, sculpture lovers in the Michiana area have the unique opportunity to view and appreciate “a true survey of contemporary sculpture,” according to Mark Rospenda, curator of exhibitions and collections at the South Bend Museum of Art (SBMA).

Displayed in two overlapping exhibitions, the work of 21 sculptors will be included as a part of “ND Alumni: Sculptors and Professors.”

The project is a collaboration between the South Bend Museum of Art (SBMA) and Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art.

“It’s a great show, and we’re really lucky to have it,” Rospenda said. “It really wouldn’t have been possible without Professor Austin Collins. He has been working on it for two years.”

“There is not one school of thought represented in this exhibit—either conceptually or material-wise. It’s a very diverse group,” said Collins, who has served as professor of sculpture in the Department of Art, Art History and Design at the University of Notre Dame for the past 28 years.

“All of the sculptors in this exhibit are former students of mine who are now both sculptors and professors at colleges and universities,” Collins noted. “The idea is to show what people are doing with their art degrees.”

Working in a variety of media, the sculptors included in the two exhibits provide art lovers with an overview of the wide variety of the types of artwork that are fall under the heading of “sculpture.”

“Contemporary sculpture isn’t confined to just the traditional marble and bronze pieces. There are some of those, but this exhibition also includes installation pieces, photography, video—even small robotic houses that move around, as well as carved drywall,” Rospenda explained. “One artist even includes some elements created with a 3-D printer. It’s really a wonderful exhibition.”

The list of artists whose work will be on display includes Leticia R. Bajuyo, Neal Bociek, Derek Chalfant, Jay Dougan, Isaac Duncan, Benjamin Funke, Steven Hansen, Chad Hartwig, Irina Koukhanova, Lori Miles, Molly Morin, Tomás Rivas, Nick Roudebush,  Katelyn Seprish, Phillip Shore, Cambid J. Choy, John W. Hooker, Chido Johnson, Brian Kakas, Daniel Julian Norton and Miklos Simon.

Their works were divided between the two venues through a collaborative process that was satisfying to staff members working on both sides of the project.

“The show is a nice opportunity to see these two venues working so well together,” Collins said. “The division of the works shows the collaboration between the two museums. Both museum staffs viewed a PowerPoint presentation together and made the decisions.”

While viewing the work will be interesting in and of itself, both Rospenda and Professor Collins strongly suggest that interested parties attend a two-day symposium that is scheduled to take place Sept. 19 and 20.

“It will really offer a chance to hear from the artists themselves about what their thoughts are—what they’re trying to accomplish with these contemporary strategies,” Rospenda said.

“For example, there is a piece by Nick Roudebush called ‘Five Bushels.’ It is comprised of five, 90-pound ceramic tiles that sit on the floor. If you hear Nick talk, you’ll learn that Nick works on a farm, and each of the tiles is made to the exact volume of a bushel. Knowing that opens up a different pathway for you to understand the work.”

Collins also pointed out that the symposium’s keynote speakers will be acclaimed international sculptor Tony Cragg and art historian and author Judith Collins.

“Judith Collins, the former curator of the Tate Modern in London, has also recently published a book surveying modern sculpture, ‘Sculpture Today,’ which really ties in well with this exhibit,” Professor Collins said.

To provide the exhibition with a longer life, organizers are currently working on both a catalogue and a website dedicated to the exhibit. Once that site is completed, a link to it will be available on both the SBMA’s website, www.southbendart.org, as well as the Snite’s website, www.sniteartmuseum.nd.edu.

The SBMA’s portion of “ND Alumni: Sculptors and Professors” opened on June 28 and will run through Sept. 28. Located in the Century Center at 120 S. Saint Joseph St., the museum’s galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Admission to the museum galleries is free, but there is a suggested donation of  $5 for nonmembers. More information about the SBMA can be obtained by calling (574) 235-9102.

The Snite’s portion of the exhibit will open on Aug. 3 and run through Nov. 30. Located at 100 Moose Krause Circle, Notre Dame, Indiana, the museum is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The Snite can be reached by phone at (574) 631-5466.

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