Wexner Center for the Arts is preparing for new events and exhibitions

Works like “Untitled” (1984) by the American graffiti artist Futura2000 are presented at “To Begin, Again”, an exhibition that celebrates the prehistory of the Wexner Center for the Arts from 1968-1989. The exhibition will run from February 5th to May 8th. Image Credit: Courtesy of the Ohio State University Archives

This spring semester, the Wexner Center for the Arts is hosting events for members of the community inspired by a prominent jazz artist, Princess Leia, and even her own story.

Although capacity in its film / video theater has been reduced to 75 percent and live performance capacity to 50 percent, the Wexner Center has a busy line-up prepared for the next several months, subject to changes due to pandemic, said Melissa Starker, spokeswoman for the center. Students can look forward to various happenings, including a film series with a special sound and a book reading in January, before an exhibition is presented in February with works that have not seen the light of day for 30 years.

The spring semester starts with the film series “Soundtrack by Herbie Hancock“That pays homage to a jazz legend. The series, which consists of eight films and runs Friday through January 29, features Hancock’s award-winning soundtracks in films such as “Harlem Nights” and “Round Midnight”.

“Aside from some really great music, it’s a really diverse line-up,” said Starker. “It’s everything from one of the greatest movies ever made about jazz to ‘Death Wish’ – the 1970s action exploitation film that started off like this whole genre of revenge.”

Not only is the center primarily aimed at the student audience, but it also works hand in hand with them. A new cooperation between the Wexner Center and the student organization Cinéseries has resulted in the establishment of an a new monthly program, will take place this month on January 19th at 7pm in the Film / Video Theater.

“This month we’re doing a series called ‘Breakaway Shorts,’ which are five really cool, cross-border shorts that they curated,” said Starker. “This is a new partnership that we are very much looking forward to.”

Ohio State Professor Linda Mizejewski will also adorn the movie / video theater and provide Star Wars fans with a reading from her book “Our Blessed Rebel Queen: Essays About Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia”. January 26th at 5:30 pm A book signing and a demonstration of the reading will be followed by the documentary “Looking for Leia”.

February and Valentine’s Day tend to go hand in hand and the Wexner Center will be self-loving next month with a new exhibition. “To start again: A Prehistory of the Wex, 1968–89“, Which will be on view from February 5th to May 8th. The exhibit features work by artists such as Eva Hesse and Frank Stella and is a way to celebrate Ohio State’s art from 1968, prior to the founding of Wexner., In mid-1989, Starker said.

“There is a contemporary art collection in Ohio that the Wex has owned for 30 years, but a lot of that work hasn’t seen the light of day during that time,” said Starker. “Everything has to do with that really interesting time when contemporary art became a new focus at Ohio State.”

Kelly Kivland, the centre’s chief curator and exhibition director, said the exhibition will have a strong focus on the University Gallery of Fine Art, which was founded in the 1970s. Kivland said the gallery came about in part because other Big Ten institutions had independent art museums on their campus and Ohio State didn’t, but also because of protests on campus and the resulting artworks of the time.

“There were these major protests going on here on campus that really brought the university to a standstill in April and May ’70,” Kivland said. “That was really a lot, I would say, part of the larger ethos of bringing about change on campus and really paying attention to the creation of culture and countercultures.”

In addition to showcasing work by Ohio State students, faculty, and staff who at the time were interested in making change through art, Kivland said the gallery faced several serious issues. It hosted several exhibitions during the 1980s, featured in the February exhibition, related to topics such as the AIDS epidemic and sexual violence.

“This particular exhibition is relevant now as an institution that is really looking back and paying attention to what it means to be part of an academic institution,” said Kivland. “I’m really looking at the foundation of the students and activists who have been on campus and how they really advanced and shaped and inspired so much of the arts.”

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