The museum of art, design and architecture reopens its doors
After more than a year of closure, the UC Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Design and Architecture reopened on September 25 to present its new exhibitions in person: “Irresistible Delights: Recent Gifts to the Art Collection “,” Sound of a Thousand Years: Gagaku Instruments of Japan “and” From Riggs to Neutra and Niemeyer: Tremaine Houses, 1936-1977. “
“Having [the museum] filled with people is invigorating… and it is a space where students feel absolutely welcome, ”said Gabriel Ritter, the new director of the UCSB Museum of Art, Design and Architecture. Ritter joined UCSB after serving as Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
“I cannot take responsibility for reopening the museum; the staff – especially under the supervision and direction of the former interim manager, Silvia Perea – have done an incredible job, ”Ritter said.
“Irresistible Delights: Recent Gifts to the Art Collection” draws pieces from the museum’s holdings which include more than 10,000 works of art donated by patrons, alumni and faculty. In particular, “Irresistible Delights” places a strong emphasis on contemporary and African art.
“We [wanted] to recognize those major gifts that may not have been seen in the past five to ten years, ”said Ritter.
One of the aims of the new exhibitions, “The Sound of a Thousand Years: The Gagaku Instruments of Japan” and “From Riggs to Neutra and Niemeyer: Tremaine Houses, 1936-1977”, was to showcase talent and expertise faculty.
Professor Fabio Rambelli, Chair of Shinto Studies at the International Shinto Foundation and Chair of Religious Studies at UCSB, Commissioner “Sound of a Thousand Years: Gagaku Instruments of Japan” which takes participants through the history of the classical gagaku orchestra at the Imperial Court of Japan by displaying not only ancient instruments, but also costumes and costumes. videos of representations of ancient representations.
A remarkable feature of the exhibit that Ritter highlighted was the installation of the exhibits and their occupation of space in the museum.
“The museum’s design team created scaffolding that wraps around the walls. It becomes a place to sit and watch Gagaku performances, but it also becomes a shelf that traverses the space that references Japanese architecture. This attention to detail and the way the design fits perfectly into the space and literally supports the objects that are in the exhibit is a truly impressive touch of detail, ”said Ritter.
Professor Volker M. Welter from the Department of Art History and Architecture organized “From Riggs to Neutra and Niemeyer: Tremaine Houses, 1936-1977”, which highlights four modern houses from the mid-20th century that put the architectural prowess of Santa Barbara on the map.
“All of the houses featured in the exhibit were created – and one was never built – in Montecito by the Tremaine family,” Ritter explained.
Welter and the museum’s design team also skillfully used the space to display architecture, a complicated medium to display in a building. The installation includes a metal curtain through which viewers can see the screens.
Ritter said he hopes the faculty’s curation of exhibits continues as it supports a wide range of ideas and visions. Diversity was a common thread of the varied exhibits, said Ritter, from “ancient Japanese musical instruments, which lean in design, at the architecture exhibit, which is contemporary but anchored here. [in Santa Barbara], to the incredibly diverse collection [that is displayed]. ”
Overall, the reopening is “a celebration of the local treasures we have here, both in our faculty and the museum’s generous donors,” said Ritter.
However, the reopening of the Museum of Art, Design and Architecture is more than an opportunity to showcase works of art.
“With its reopening, [the museum] can be a vital part of the student and faculty community to question what a museum is and what a museum can be in the future, ”said Ritter.
“It’s not easy when you have a board of directors and a lot of external stakeholders,” he continued, describing his experience in his previous role at an art institute.
“First and foremost, our ‘stakeholders’ and our audience [for the Art, Design & Architecture Museum] are the students and the faculty… I hope this museum speaks to them.
Ritter wants to bring others from UCSB and the greater Santa Barbara community into the conversation. The director has started meeting with groups of students and professors and plans to contact sister institutions such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
“Individual visibility and museum programming that reflects the artists who live and work on the central coast, the artists who have been alumni… and the people who see themselves directly reflected in the museum, whether they are works of art. ‘wall art, bilingual labels or programs that take place at the museum, which are at the heart of our mission,’ explained Ritter.
Ritter also shared his ideas for growing physically on campus as well.
“Temporary facilities that are elsewhere on campus, things that are openly accessible to those entering and leaving campus,” Ritter said as potential projects on campus.
Going forward, the Museum of Art, Design and Architecture is planning in-person exhibits until 2022 – pending COVID-19 security guidelines. Additionally, there are also upcoming programming events on Zoom that community members can attend.
“This museum can model new approaches and new ways of engaging with our students. I have great confidence in the students and I am delighted to see how this museum can work in partnership with them in the future, ”concluded Ritter.
Entrance to the Museum of Art, Design and Architecture is free
Hours of operation are Wednesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A version of this article appeared on p. 11 of the October 7, 2021 print edition of The Daily Nexus.