Colby Museum shows off new exhibits in Open House

Last Thursday evening, the Colby College Museum of Art invited Colby students, faculty, and members of the greater community to a lively—and snowy—Spring Open House. The Museum organized several hours of activities as part of a celebration of their new exhibitions, all geared towards welcoming new art enthusiasts and reintroducing past museum-goers to new exhibits. The unrelenting snowfall that day and evening did unfortunately limit the turnout for community members, who usually make up a large presence at Museum events. But the Spring Open House was still visited by many, thanks to the students who braved the snow to explore the galleries.

The exhibits being introduced were a combination that encompasses a wide variety of styles and eras. Anna Jermolaewa: Leninopad (Leninfall) (Leninopad) is an exhibit focused on part of a demolished monument to Lenin that the artist, Anna Jermolaewa, found in Ukraine. It had multiple pictures and videos taken of the monument and her experiences as she interviewed citizens about it.

For a wildly different medium, the exhibit Graphic Matters: George Bellows and World War I, is a collection of almost 200 early twentieth century lithographs by George Bellows depicting World War I. This exhibit reexamines Bellows’ prints and the “questions they raise about representation, aestheticized and institutionalized violence, nationalism, and masculinity,” the Museum’s website states. In contrast, No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki, displays the paintings and drawings of Chinese-French artist Zao Wou-Ki in the first exhibit of his work in the United States in decades. According to the the Museum’s website, Zao’s work “provide[s] a dazzling introduction” to his historical significance in uniting “the visual poetry of Chinese art within twentieth-century oil-painting idioms.”

These new exhibits opened just in time for the Museum’s Spring Open House. Starting at 4:30 P.M., the event opened with guided tours through the galleries that continued until 8:00 P.M., where the curators of the new exhibitions introduced them. Later there was an art class, where all ages  were invited to learn how to make Chinese character bookmarks with the help of some artists. Around 7 P.M. the reception began, with appetizers, wine, and even music from a live string trio. The night ended with a collaborative performance by Afro-Cuban artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and others, involved music, poetry, and visual arts. This event was put on by the Art Department with the aid of an impressive ten different organizations, ranging from the Pugh Center to the African-American Studies and Spanish Departments.

“It’s a very elegant event, and everyone is very excited about the artwork,” said Anh Uong ’17.  Weather troubles notwithstanding, the Museum drew a crowd to the Spring Open House and was able to present their new exhibits.