The winter months are the perfect time for a trip to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, taking advantage of rainy weather days to enjoy some unique artwork. The museum currently has a couple of new and ongoing exhibits for local art enthusiasts.
“Back to Life: Bay Area Figurative Drawings”
Continuing through May 1, 2016
In 1953, the young painters David Park, Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn began meeting weekly in a Berkeley studio to draw from live models. In works on paper, they imbued the human form with the charged emotion newly derived from the bold and swift marks of gestural Abstract Expressionism that emerged in their paintings of figures, still lifes, and landscapes. The expressive rendering of subject matter forged in Northern California became known as Bay Area Figuration, and for the first time, the vanguard of American painting was here, rather than New York. The drawing sessions begun by this circle of intimates continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s, widening to include artists such as James Weeks, William Theophilius Brown, Paul Wonner, and later, Frank Lobdell, Nathan Oliveira, and Manuel Neri. The primacy each placed on the study of the human figure is evident in this selection of more than 30 drawings, including major gifts from the estate of John S. Knudsen. Additional works by Joan Brown and Wayne Thiebaud highlight the growing influence of Californian artists in these decades.
“Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads”
Jan. 24 through May 1, 2016
Internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s monumental zodiac animal heads reinterpret those that once adorned the famed 18th-century fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace), an imperial retreat outside Beijing. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the heads were pillaged. In creating contemporary versions of these 12 Chinese zodiac animals on an oversized scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on issues of the repatriation while extending his ongoing exploration of what constitutes Chinese art and identity. His first major public sculpture project, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” is accompanied by supplemental historical material concerning the emperor’s fountain, along with a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the bronzes. “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” is a collaborative project of the artist, his studio, and AW Asia in New York.
The Crocker Art Museum was the first public art museum in the Western U.S. and is one of the leading art museums in California today. The Museum offers a diverse spectrum of special exhibitions, events, and programs to augment its collections of Californian, European, Asian, African and Oceanic artworks, and international ceramics. The Crocker is located at 216 O St., downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays. Every third Sunday of the month is “Pay What You Wish Sunday” sponsored by Western Health Advantage. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit crockerartmuseum.org.