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Schingoethe Center to feature ‘art of facts: Brian Dettmer’ exhibit

Posted by on January 30, 2017


Image: First to Pass Through, 2015. Brian Dettmer.

AURORA, Ill. – The Schingoethe Center of Aurora University begins its 2017 season with an opening reception for “art of facts: Brian Dettmer,” Tuesday, Feb. 7, 5-6:30 p.m. The reception will be followed by an announcement designating the museum as a Smithsonian Affiliate. The evening will conclude with a presentation by the artist.

Dettmer continues his work with books as sculptural material and cultural object. In relation to the artifacts in the Schingoethe collection, he redefines and reconsiders books in a new context to explore connections we have to objects and information of the past.

“Much like an artifact in a natural history museum, many books have become objects that were not originally intended to be in a museum or considered art,” said Dettmer. “It is only after the loss of their functional, ceremonial or spiritual value that they have been appropriated by another perspective to be seen as art, or as an artifact.”

Newer works in the show will take familiar forms from early and emerging civilizations, Native American and other indigenous cultures. The book will be explored as a vessel, both something to contain and in which to distribute knowledge and nourishment. It will also be represented as a craft that can carry and transport new ideas and bodies of information to a different place.

Some of Dettmer’s art takes on the form of a tower or totem pole, including several new works in “art of facts.” This vertical, linear format suggests the growth of knowledge, the strength and character of aggregated information and a respect for a recently deceased format. The subjects of culture, nature, archeology and artifacts are considered both through the content of the books chosen and through the forms they take.

Other new works take the form of fragments or ruins found from an ancient culture. Shaped as shards of stone or broken building blocks, works are pushed to suggest the patina of age and decline through time — the aftermath of years of ruin or the rubble from a recent conflict — a forced paradigm shift through the dominance of a new regime.

A companion exhibit co-curated by Dettmer and museum executive director Meg Bero presents artifacts from the Schingoethe Center’s American Indian collection and rare book collection. The artifacts draw connections to Dettmer’s sculpture in content, motif and form. Books, such as an original set of McKenny and Hall’s “A History of the Indian Tribes of North America, 1843” and “Bureau of Ethnology” volumes, are exhibited with artifacts.

A film produced by the Schingoethe Center of the artist discussing several pieces in the show will be shown during the exhibit.

Biography of the Artist

Brian Dettmer (b. 1974, Chicago) lives and works in New York. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the Hermann Geiger Foundation, Cecina, Italy; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta; and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, Virginia. His works have been exhibited internationally in shows at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The San Jose Museum of Contemporary Art, San Jose, California; The Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago; The High Museum, Atlanta; and the Perez Art Museum, Miami.

Dettmer’s sculptures can be found in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Chicago; The High Museum, Atlanta; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. He has lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and The New York Public Library, and given a TED talk for the TED Youth Conference in 2014. Dettmer’s work has been featured in several publications and programs including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Chicago Tribune, Art News, Modern Painters, Wired, The Village Voice, Harper’s, CBS News and NPR.

For more information, please visit the Schingoethe Center website.

Dettmer is represented by P-P-O-W Gallery, New York City.

About the Smithsonian Affiliate Announcement
The Smithsonian Institution has granted the Schingoethe Center of Aurora University affiliate status, making possible new opportunities for collaborative exhibits, artifact loans, research and educational programs. The Smithsonian’s Harold Closter will present the museum’s official affiliate certificate.

What: “art of facts: Brian Dettmer” exhibit opening reception

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017

Time: 5-6:30 p.m., opening reception; 6:45 p.m., Smithsonian Affiliate announcement and artist talk

Location: The opening reception will be held in the Schingoethe Center, 1315 Prairie St., Aurora, Illinois (Aurora University main campus). The Smithsonian announcement and artist talk will be held in Crimi Auditorium in the Institute for Collaboration, 1347 Prairie St., Aurora, Illinois, (Aurora University main campus).