SUMA Hosts Four Powerful Exhibitions This Summer

Published: July 03, 2023 | Author: SUU | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUMA building with lights on in the eveningFrom socially-conscious video games to tree-celebrating works from the permanent collection, the summer exhibitions at Southern Utah Museum of Art are a powerful grouping of perspectives on cultural identities, complex political statements, mundane objects, and symbols of life. These four exhibitions will be on display at SUMA from June 10 to September 23, 2023. 

“Our summer exhibitions —among our most ambitious to date—offer visitors the opportunity to see world-class art from collections across the country right here in Southern Utah, and to explore timely themes related to race and migration through exciting new media and installations,” said Becky Bloom, assistant director of curatorial affairs at SUMA.

Learn more about each of the four exhibitions below. 

Lennart Anderson: A Retrospective

Lennart Anderson was an artist renowned for his deceptively complex paintings that transform common delicacies, mundane objects, and a sitter’s calm interiority into phenomenological meditations on light, form, and time. Described by the New York Times as one of the “most prominent and admired painters to translate figurative art into a modern idiom,” Anderson was also well-known for a teaching career that deeply influenced future generations of painters, including guest curator Randall Cabe.

In collaboration with the Lennart Anderson estate and Leigh Morse Fine Arts, SUMA will host the largest iteration of this first major survey featuring 56 works from both private and public collections, such as Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Whitney Museum of American Art. This exhibition contains nudity. 

A Dream Deferred: New Perspectives on Black Experience in the Work of Aïsha Lehmann and Vitus Shell

In connection with the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun”, SUMA has engaged two artists to contribute works that reflect and respond to the themes of the play and express how they reverberate into the present. Aïsha Lehmann has created a new body of work that centers on the intersections of race, health, and societal opportunity across America, during the time of the play and today. Vitus Shell’s Ice Cream Man series features a Black man against collaged white backdrops, from which expressions like “Fragility,” “Guilt,” and “Rage” subtly emerge.

Reaching for the Sky: Trees in the Work of Jimmie Jones & Other Artists, Near & Far

For the newest installation in the Jimmie F. Jones Gallery, Jones’s paintings that feature prominent rim pinyons and ponderosa pines will be displayed in conversation with other tree-celebrating works from SUMA’s permanent collection and several special loans.

This exhibition includes SUMA’s recent acquisition, Jack Rabbit Ridge by Billy Schenck, two important pieces from SUMA’s collection of Japanese woodblock prints, and contemporary works on loan from Modern West Fine Art by Day Christensen, Woody Shepherd, and Navajo artist Shonto Begay.

YOU MADE OUR REALITY INTO A GAME?!?!, Pixels, Politics, and Play with Rafael Fajardo

Colombian-American artist and educator Rafael Fajardo is the founding director of SWEAT, a loose collective of digital creatives who develop socially-conscious video games as a means to explore cultural identities and complex political perspectives. Crosser and La Migra are two such video games, representing opposing viewpoints on the evolving dynamics at the US-Mexico border, exhibited as a diptych. 

The hyper-pixelated retro imagery employed by Fajardo and SWEAT in these video games recalls early arcade graphics, invoking a sense of nostalgia and childlike naivete. By recontextualizing the migration “crisis” at the US-Mexico border through digital gaming and vintage aesthetics, Crosser and La Migra represent the humanity inherent to both sides of this ongoing socio-political conflict, making space for cross-cultural empathy through the simple act of play. 

Southern Utah Museum of Art

The Southern Utah Museum of Art, on the campus of Southern Utah University, features the artwork of regional artists known for their landscapes, faculty and student artists from the SUU Department of Art & Design, as well as emerging and distinguished artists from around the country. 

Part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, which also includes the Utah Shakespeare Festival, SUMA is free and open to the public.

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