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LANCASTER, Pa.—A wide-ranging exhibition of art by 15 artists affiliated with the Department of Art & Art History at Franklin & Marshall College will travel to New York City next month for a three-week run at BronxArtSpace.
Most of the artwork on display debuted Jan. 18 in the biennial faculty exhibition at F&M’s Phillips Museum of Art. The show closed on March 9, but on April 4, it opens at BronxArtSpace under a new name, “Circuitous Routes,” and will be on display through April 28.
Thematically, the artists’ works have little in common. They comprise an eclectic assortment of media and styles, encompassing everything from environmental photography to traditional Chinese oil paintings to mixed-media sculptures and installations.
But the artists themselves share a common bond through their connection to F&M, and all believe their roles as “working artists” are integral to their development as scholars and teachers.
“Just the way scientists, economists, historians and other academics produce valuable scholarship within the context of institutions of higher education, so, too, do artists,” said Virginia Maksymowicz, chair of the art department at F&M and an exhibiting artist in “Circuitous Routes.” “Their scholarship is manifest through works of art rather than printed journals.”
Maksymowicz pointed out that art and academia have a long relationship. Among the ranks of artist-professors are realist Thomas Eakins, who taught at Drexel Institute (now Drexel University) and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; pop artists George Segal and Roy Lichtenstein, both of whom taught at Rutgers University; and abstract painter Josef Albers, who taught at Black Mountain College and Yale University.
One reason artists are drawn to teaching is the opportunity to work in an environment free of the myriad non-creative demands of the commercial art world, Maksymowicz said.
“The over-commercialization of the contemporary art world relentlessly pressures artists to produce objects for the marketplace,” she said. “Colleges and universities can provide an alternative art world, one in which the pursuit of ideas, and the opportunity to give those ideas form, takes precedence over prices at auction.”
“Circuitous Routes” features works by F&M faculty members Kevin Brady, Michael Clapper, Carol Galligan, Claire Giblin, Carol Hickey, John Holmgren, Bill Hutson, Richard K. Kent, Jun-Cheng Liu, Virginia Maksymowicz, Jim Peterson, Tedd Pettibon, Dorothy Thayne, and Scott Wright, and Emeritus Professor Folke Tyko Kihlstedt. Professor Emerita Linda Cunningham is curator of the exhibition space.
BronxArtSpace will host a reception with the artists on Saturday, April 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. The studio is at 305 E. 140th St. in the Bronx.