Nelson Gallery abuzz with art this spring

By Sara Post

Art excitement is building this spring at UC Davis.

A groundbreaking celebration on March 1 marked the beginning of construction of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis. The new museum, slated to open in 2016, will house the current Nelson Gallery art collection as well as mount exhibits and provide resources for education.

Meanwhile, art exhibits and events are flourishing this spring at the Nelson Gallery in the former University Club on campus (now called Nelson Hall).

Visitors to Picnic Day on Saturday, April 12, are invited to stop by the UCD Art History Clubʼs Davis Art Salon at the Nelson Gallery. The Art Salon will begin with an exhibition of works submitted by campus and community artists.

Art works on display April 11 and 12 may be viewed and voted upon by anyone coming to the exhibit, a process the Art History Club describes as “an open source event in which the community curates.” The artist receiving the most votes will be awarded a two-week exhibition at the gallery.

The theme of Aprilʼs Art Salon, “Degenerate Art,” recalls the modern art work reviled by Nazi Germany, mostly nonrepresentational work that stretched boundaries and insulted the artistic sensibilities of traditionalist Nazis. Artists are invited to present work that challenges viewers, extending the idea of degenerate art.

The Davis Art Salon opens Friday, April 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nelson and continues until 5 p.m. on Picnic Day. Everyone is invited to come and cast a vote for their artist of choice.


Also at the Nelson Gallery, “Hollingshead: The Art of The Portrait” will showcase gelatin silver portraits from the late Paul Hollingshead, a Woodland photographer, in the main gallery. Hollingshead graduated in 1923 from the New York Institute of Photography and landed a job as an assistant to famed modernist photographer Edward Steichen, whose sophisticated images appeared regularly in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

Working at Steichenʼs side for more than five years, Hollingshead developed an array of artistic techniques, skills he brought west when he opened his own studio in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hollingshead brought big-city photography to Woodland and Yolo County in the early 1930s. Curator Erin Dorn, a master’s degree candidate in art history, has chosen portraits for the exhibit from a larger archive of 5,000 photographs, negatives and letters dating back 100 years.

The exhibit runs from April 7 through May 4. An opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 10, will feature a talk by Bill Hollingshead, who will offer insights into his fatherʼs work and archive.

Coming from Davis? The gallery is in Nelson Hall next to the Wyatt Pavilion between Arboretum Drive and Old Davis Road. Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the Nelson Gallery for a small fee. For the more adventurous, the gallery is a short walk from downtown Davis and an even quicker bike ride.

Community members are invited to be in on the ground floor as the Nelson Gallery transitions to the new Shrem Museum by joining ART friends, a group that supports the activities of the gallery and offers members-only art tours and invitations to “hard hat” events. For membership inquiries, contact the gallery at 530-752-8500 or [email protected] or [email protected].

— Sara Post is a member of ART friends. This column will be published regularly.

Special to The Enterprise

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