Gregg Museum of art & design
2012-2013 Exhibitions

Art Without Artists
Co-curated by John Foster and Roger Manley

September 27 – December 16, 2012 (Talley Student Center will be closed on Dec. 16 and will be open from 2-5pm on Dec. 15)

Opening reception: Thursday, September 27, 6-8pm


When French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp signed his name on a commercially manufactured bottle-drying rack and entered it in a 1914 Paris exhibition as a piece of sculpture did it become art? When 12th century Chinese scholars rescued eroded limestone boulders from the bottoms of lakes and placed them on pedestals, did the rocks become sculptures, or were the rocks already art when they were still underwater centuries before anyone ever saw them?

Art Without Artists is a show that asks lots of intriguing questions. If someone casually takes a snapshot, and then years later someone else happens to recognize that it is a great photograph, who is the artist—the one who took the picture, or the one who recognized it? Do photographers ever really make works of art, do they just choose them or do they only find them? Can anyone take credit for happy accidents? What about abstract painters?

Combining things like anonymous snapshots, bullet-riddled deer crossing signs, industrial tools that might pass for contemporary masterpieces, and quirky transformational objects that may be natural, found, or completely accidental, Art Without Artists probes whether art exists only in the eye of the beholder or remains forever stranded in some Twilight Zone in-between intention and chance. Equal parts brain-teaser and eye-pleaser, the exhibition rekindles a sense of wonder while you wonder how to make sense of it all. Co-curated by St. Louis graphic designer John Foster and Gregg Museum director Roger Manley.




Focal objects by Renée Stout, Kevin Sampson, and Odinga Tyehimba

September 27 – December 16, 2012 (Talley Student Center will be closed on Dec. 16 and will be open from 2-5pm on Dec. 15)

Opening reception: Thursday, September 27, 6-8pm


SPIRIT – FIRE – SHAKE! presents works by three African-American artists that evoke shrines and altars, but are perhaps best described as “focal objects,” a term Tibetan Buddhists use to refer to physical things that encourage spiritual concentration.  

Renée Stout is a Washington DC-based artist who employs a variety of media including painting, drawing, mixed media sculpture, photography and installation in an attempts to create works that encourage self-examination, introspection and the ability to laugh at the absurdities of life. Her alter ego Fatima Mayfield, a fictitious herbalist and fortuneteller, allows her to role play in order to confront the issues, whether it’s relationships, social ills, or financial woes, in a way that is open, evocative, and often humorous.

Newark, New Jersey, artist Kevin Sampson was a former cop and composite sketch artist for over 19 years. He received numerous commendations for his work as a police artist and a medal for valor as a detective. But the death of his third child affected him more deeply than anything he’d seen in the line of duty. After losing several other family members he began making “memorials” from found objects not only to them but also to friends who had died of AIDS or drugs, erecting them in the tough neighborhoods where he lived.

Odinga Tyehimba was born in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, grew up in Chicago and California, and served in the US Army before settling in Durham, NC. At hip-hop gatherings he found himself impressed by the African-themed staffs that many of the emcees wielded, and soon began carving canes and staffs of his own. These soon morphed into larger figures and assemblages that incorporate personal, political and mythological symbolism reflecting African traditions and mainstream Christianity as well as other belief systems like Voodoo and Santeria.




STREAMING: New Art From Old Bottles
An Installation by Environmental Artist Bryant Holsenbeck

September 27 – December 16, 2012 (Talley Student Center will be closed on Dec. 16 and will be open from 2-5pm on Dec. 15)

Opening reception: Thursday, September 27, 6-8pm


“As an environmental artist, I collect detritus--everyday objects that were used once and thrown away--and make them into art. My installations are both meditations and questions: Where does all this ‘stuff’ come from? Where does it go? What do we do with it? Why is it here?”

--Bryant Holsenbeck


Here is a rare opportunity to take part in creating a major hands-on artwork alongside well known environmental artist Bryant Holsenbeck. Using thousands of plastic bottles and other recyclables, participants will work together to build an installation in the Gregg Museum galleries as part of the museum’s fall exhibition lineup. What the resulting piece turns out looking like will be up to the participants themselves.   Each participant please bring 10 of their own (washed clean) plastic bottles and containers to include in the installation. When it’s done, all participants will be recognized in the exhibition labeling and invited to the public opening reception on the evening of September 27.  Stop by the Gregg Museum, 2nd floor Talley Student Center!




French Studies Colloquium - Web Exhibit

(Online slideshow click here)

Please enjoy this photographic sampling of objects from the Gregg Museum of Art & Design's permanent collection that are on display (online only) as a part of the 38th Annual Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium.



Co-curated by Tom Patterson and Roger Manley

January 17 – April 26, 2013

Opening reception: Thursday, January 17, 6-8pm


The Gregg Museum’s spring 2013 exhibition Farfetched: Mad Science, Fringe Architecture and Visionary Engineering takes as its basic point of departure British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead's famous quip that, “Every really new idea looks crazy at first.” The exhibition will feature objects that question (and push) the boundaries of what is considered “normal” in art and technology.

For example, Frank Lloyd Wright was considered a great architect, and Norman Bel Geddes was recognizeda great designer, but neither Wright's visionary mile high city (The Illinois), nor Geddes's proposed flying wing (Air Liner Number 4) ever proved feasible (no wonder; the air liner would have had nine decks and incorporated areas for deck-games, an orchestra, a gymnasium, a solarium and a machine shop for in-flight repairs).

Meanwhile, an uneducated Hispanic handyman named Simon Rodia, who was labeled insane, really did manage to build the famous Watts Towers in Los Angeles—singlehandedly and so sturdily that the towers couldn't be torn down (city engineers tried). Some of the greatest scientists, architects, and engineers who ever lived—Galileo, Newton, Tesla, Marconi, the Wright brothers—were accused of insanity at one time or another during their careers.

Thinking big (or “thinking outside the box”) in both art and science means taking risks, and even risking failure. To make this point, Farfetched will include works by both mainstream and “outsider” artists and scientists, ranging from Perpetual Motion Machines to Orgone Generators.



Photographs of the unnatural world by Peter Goin

January 17 – April 26, 2013

Opening reception: Thursday, January 17, 6-8pm


Nevada photographer Peter Goin makes images of human-made flies, artificial lakes and forests, man-made waterfalls, fake tornados, trees, rocks and artificial beaches, as well as controlled burns, designer forests, and managed wildlife reserves in order to question the relationship of culture to the natural and unnatural worlds. His photos explore and document the extent to which people and nature have become a strangely intertwined continuum and ask whether nature is an illusion created by culture, or a fiction dramatically reinforced through our tradition of environmental management. Does a plastic tree satisfy our cultural need for visible biota? Can (and should) an ocean beach be artificially maintained as a vast expanse of fine sand? Can we control the weather? Does “nature” have value because of the increasing demands of the urban environment? Are human-made rocks better than the real thing? Goin’s large-format color photos, many of them shot in North Carolina, are as funny as they are disturbing.





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Permanent Collection

The Gregg Museum of Art & Design has a number of display cases located in the South Gallery of the Talley Student Center that enable the permanent display of selected objects from the collection. Often, these displays serve as mini-exhibitions, available for viewing whenever the building is open.

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