Spring Break Edition: See Sculptures on Campus, Enjoy Art Talks, Performances

Pig sculpture
A sculpture of a pig in the Veterinary Medicine area on the UC Davis campus is a great place to take a photo. And, it's a very nice walk to take during Spring Break. Find about about other sculpture walks on campus. (UC Davis photo)

The UC Davis campus is full of various sculptures. We offer a few to enjoy during your "staycation" this spring break  — keep walking and see if you can find more. We also point out a few great virtual events. Enjoy. The Arts Blog will be back after spring break.

New sculpture perfect for a hug

You can't miss it.  And it's perfect for a “bear hug.”

The newly installed sculpture of a tardigrade, or water bear, promises not only to be a cuddly campus landmark but it may be the world's largest — and only — sculpture of its kind. It weighs 2,112 pounds and measures 6 feet long and nearly 3 feet high, whereas in real life, tardigrades are microscopic.

The sculpture, located in front of the Academic Surge, anchors the entrance to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses one of the world's largest tardigrade collections.

 “I'm not aware of any other statue of a water bear anywhere,” said entomology professor Lynn Kimsey, museum director.

Huggable art
You can now find a new sculpture near the Academic Surge and Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. Artist Solomon Bassoff and Bohart Museum director Lynn Kimsey stand by the tardigrade sculpture. (Photo courtesy of Solomon Basshoff)

A crew installed the concrete sculpture, the work of artist Solomon Bassoff of Faducci LLC, North San Juan (Nevada County) in February.

Read the article by Cody Kitaura here.

More sculptures...

Also, jaunt over to the Veterinary Medicine area and find many more works, including a great selfie-worthy pig. Photographed above, it is some pig. See a story on the Vet Med art here.

And read Arts Blog stories about the walking tour you can do in the arboretum here and here. Lots of great photos at these links, too.

Find your way around campus on this map.

Top photo by Karin Higgins, UC Davis.

SFMOMA Artist Talk: Jordan Casteel

Thursday, March 25, 4 p.m., free, via Zoom. Register.

Tune in for a live online talk with New York–based artist Jordan Casteel, who will be joined in conversation by Curator of Contemporary Art Eungie Joo.

Casteel’s painting Aurora (2020) is a large-scale portrait of creative director Aurora James — founder of the 15 Percent Pledge — originally conceived for the cover of Vogue’s September issue in 2020. “What’s most exciting to me,” Casteel told Vogue, “is being given artistic integrity and being able to choose the person to be my sitter — someone who reflects a portion of my own identity — and then to do that truly in the medium of my choice. This is the way that I speak to the world.”

Painting: Aurora
Jordan Casteel, Aurora, 2020; the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection; courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York; ©️ Jordan Casteel; photo: David Schulze

This work displays in the gallery installation On Beauty on Floor 2, within Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture, 1900 to Now.

About the Artist

Jordan Casteel has rooted her practice in community engagement, painting from her own photographs of people she encounters. Posing her subjects within their natural environments, her nearly life-size portraits and cropped compositions chronicle personal observations of the human experience. Casteel’s solo museum exhibitions include Within Reach (2020) at the New Museum in New York, and Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze, presented at both the Denver Art Museum (2019), and the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University (2019–20). Casteel is an Assistant Professor of Painting in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at Rutgers University-Newark.

Learn more about the event here.

Crocker’s ‘Official Rogue Book Club’ features author Tommy Orange

Thursday, March 25, 6 p.m.

Each month, the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento holds the Official Rogue Book Club which brings together readers, art lovers, and special guests to discuss books that inspire folks to look at art and life in new and unexpected ways. This month, the Official Rogue Book Club is taking on There There, the acclaimed debut novel by Cheyenne and Arapaho author Tommy Orange. Published in 2018, it was heralded by NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, and O, The Oprah Magazine as an instant classic. The book received multiple awards, including the 2018 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the 2018 John Leonard Prize, and the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction.

Book cover
The book, There, There, will be discussed at the Crocker's Rogue Book Club.

Described as “masterful . . . white-hot . . . devastating” (The Washington Post), There There is the story of twelve Native Americans living in Oakland, California, whose paths converge during the Big Oakland Powwow. The novel takes its name from a passage by writer/collector Gertrude Stein on returning to her hometown of Oakland after years abroad. Finding herself a stranger in a once familiar land she noted, "There is no there there." For Orange, the cities and towns of America represent, "buried ancestral land, glass and concrete and wire and steel, unreturnable covered memory. There is no there there."

Pithy, pointed, angry, and sometimes funny, There, There is a thoroughly modern tale about the urban Native American experience. As the author writes, this is the tale of Native peoples who know, "the sound of the freeway better than [they] do rivers . . . the smell of gas and freshly wet concrete and burned rubber better than [they] do the smell of cedar or sage . . ." As The New York Times noted in their review, it's an "an ambitious meditation on identity and its broken alternatives, on myth filtered through the lens of time and poverty and urban life, on tradition all the more pressing because of its fragility."

Learn more about the event and author here

Crocker brings two ‘Spring Break Fun at Home’ events for kids

Art, music & creative writing with 916 Ink

Tuesday, March 30, 11 a.m, $0-$5, via Zoom. Register here

Jazz up your child’s Spring Break with a creative writing workshop inspired by Legends from Los Angeles: Betye, Lezley, and Alison Saar in the Crocker Collection. Students grades 3-6 are invited to join 916 Ink for an hour-long creative writing

workshop using music and artwork from the Crocker’s collection, all interpreted through fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Utilizing the 916 Ink Method, students will find themselves in a safe environment where they will be invited to share their writing, share feedback with their peers, and feel empowered to express themselves through the written word. The only supplies needed for this program are a paper and pen. Favorite and fun coloring tools are welcome but not necessary. Members can join for free and nonmembers can join for $5. 

916 Ink is a Sacramento arts-based creative writing nonprofit that provides workshops and tutoring for Sacramento area youth to transform them into confident writers and published authors. Their workshops are designed to increase literacy skills, improve vocabulary, teach empathy, positively impact social and emotional learning, and expand communication skills.

Create your own picture book

Thursday, April 1, 11 a.m, Free to $5. Zoom. Register here

Students grade K – 6 are invited to join the Crocker for an hourlong art book-making workshop. This event will start by looking at stories found in art from the Crocker’s permanent collection. Then participants will use new stories to create their very own miniature picture book. Students will need the following supplies: Post-it Notes or scrap paper, a few sheets of paper, a pencil, scissors, and colored pencils or crayons. Younger children may need the assistance of an adult. Members can join for free and nonmembers can join for $5. 

Mondavi now collecting Virtual Open Mic Night material

Mondavi Center’s HomeStage is collecting pre-recorded performance videos of music, poetry, spoken word, dance, comedy and storytelling. Submit your pre-recorded performance to be included in the virtual Open Mic Night on Wednesday, April 21. See an example of a prior Open Mic.

  • Must be original content only no covers or samples of copyrighted music.
  • Submissions can be up to five minutes long and should be filmed in landscape mode.
  • No swearing. 

Submit your performance by April 2 here.

For more information, go here.

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