AI Weiwei (born 1957, Beijing, China), Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads, 2010. Bronze, variable dimensions. Private Lender, L2017:89

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads

December 01, 2017 to June 24, 2018

The “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” series is internationally-acclaimed artist AI Weiwei ’s reinterpretation of the twelve bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace), an imperial retreat outside Beijing. Ai Weiwei created this body of work in two sizes: the bronze monumental series and the gold collector series. The “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze” series is the artist’s first major public sculpture project. The work will be on view in the JSMA’s North Courtyard through June 24.

Designed in the eighteenth century by two European Jesuits serving in the Qing-dynasty (1644-1911) court of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799, ruled 1735-99), the twelve zodiac animal heads originally functioned as a water clockfountain in the magnificent European-style gardens of the Old Summer Palace. In 1860, the Yuanming Yuan was ransacked by French and British troops, and the animal heads were pillaged. By recreating and re-contextualizing these objects on an oversized scale, Ai Weiwei focuses attention on issues of looting and repatriation, while extending his ongoing exploration of the “fake” and the “copy” in relation to the original—encouraging open discourse on these complex topics.

Ai Weiwei’s bronze and gold “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” series have been exhibited at more than forty international venues and seen by millions of people since the official launch of this body of work in New York City in 2011, making this one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art.

Brian Gillis. A Directional Antenna for Broadcasting Pirate Radio, 2016-Present. Colored porcelain,
copper, steel, and miscellaneous electrical components, 28 x 10 x 10 inches.


February 28, 2018 to April 29, 2018

Discursive features work—ranging from functional to sculptural, from performance to site-specific—created by UO faculty and visiting artists who participated in the 2016 Summer Craft Forum at the UO. During this two-week event, the participants – all of whom work in craft media, such as ceramics, metalsmithing, fibers, and printmaking – occupied UO studios to make art. During this period, they also engaged in group discussions about “craft” and its relationship to the discrete disciplines represented by the group and their individual practices. Discursive is, then, both the culmination of what was an extraordinary forum and an opportunity to deepen inquiry about contemporary craft discourses on campus and beyond. Artists whose works are featured in the exhibition include Tim Berg and Rebekah Myers, Noah Breuer, Sonja Dahl, Jovencio de la Paz, Brian Gillis, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Anya Kivarkis, Ben Levy, Charlene Liu, Ian McDonald, Jeanne Medina, Stacy Jo Scott, and Lori Talcott. The exhibition is made possible with funding from the School of Art + Design and a JSMA Academic Support Grant.

Herman Brookman: Visualizing the Sacred

February 21, 2018 to August 05, 2018

Twentieth-century architect Herman Brookman (1891-1973) designed several of Oregon’s most recognizable landmark structures, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Organized by and first presented at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE) in Portland in summer 2017, this exhibition of forty drawings, on loan from UO Special Collections and University Archives, focuses on one of Brookman’s masterpieces, Temple Beth Israel in Portland. These drawings for the only synagogue Brookman ever designed include initial concept sketches, alternatives for the exterior to the dramatic sanctuary, and additional architectural details. Together, they represent a rare opportunity to follow an architect’s creative process. The exhibition is curated by Kenneth Helphand, Philip H. Knight Professor of Landscape Architecture, Emeritus, and Henry Kunowski (B. Arch. UO 1978), a Portland-based architectural historian and specialist in Cultural Resources. JSMA’s presentation is made possible thanks to a JSMA Academic Support Grant.

Ugochukwu Akabike, Jaria Martin, 2018

Don’t Touch My Hair: Expressions of Identity and Community

February 23, 2018 to May 13, 2018

Organized by UO graduate and guest curator Meredith Lancaster, this exhibition investigates the politics of hair, racialized beauty standards, hair rituals, and the differences in expectations between men and women with regard to hair. Especially relevant in the current politically and culturally charged climate and relevant to issues of access, equity, and inclusion, Don’t Touch My Hair explores how beauty is defined and represented within and outside one’s community. Lancaster and a team of student collaborators invite students and student groups across the UO campus to participate in conversations about hair, both seen and unseen, as a site of resistance and affirmation. Students will be self-selected during open forums for photographic portraits. Next to the portraits will be the sitters’ personal hair stories. The project and related events are generously funded by the UO Division of Equity and Inclusion.


Weegee (Arthur Fellig) (American, 1899-1968), Photographer and Model, 1950s. Gelatin silver print, 7 x 9 inches. Gift of Ellen and Alan Newberg; 2016:17.34

“Weegee’s Grief and Joy: Selections from the Collection

March 28, 2018 to October 07, 2018

Drawing from the major gift of eighty-five photographs by Weegee (Arthur Fellig), given to the JSMA in 2016 by Ellen and Alan Newberg, this thematic exhibition will present a selection of black-and-white photographic prints. Born in Austria in 1889, Weegee emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1909. Working in New York as a freelance newspaper photographer, he specialized in recording the crime and violence that took place in the Lower East Side during the 1930s and ’40s. This exhibition examines images from this period, as well as those from later in his career when, as his fame grew, Weegee began to experiment with photographic manipulation. The exhibition is curated by Lucy Miller, a graduate student in the History of Art and Architecture, under the guidance of Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator.

Morris Graves (American, 1910-2001). Chinese Bronze I, ca. 1945-47.
Watercolor and gouache on paper, 42 3/4 x 24 7/8 inches. Graves at Oregon
Collection, 1968:6.7.

Morris Graves: Layers of Time

January 18, 2018 to March 18, 2018

In recognition of the importance of Morris Graves’s work and home to Keith Achepohl, we asked Achepohl if he would curate a companion exhibition. This selection, from more than 500 drawings by Graves (American, 1910-2001) in our collection, celebrates Graves’s symbolic and highly personal use of vessel imagery over the course of his life.

TSUKIOKA Yoshitoshi, Yaoya Oshichi in Pine, Bamboo and Plum: the Framed Painting at Yushima (Shôchikubai Yushima no kakegaku)
Meiji period (1868-1912), 1885
Ukiyo-e woodblock-printed vertical ôban [vertical] diptych; ink, color and embossing on paper
Loan from the Lee & Mary Jean Michels Collection

Long Nineteenth Century in Japanese Woodblock Prints

November 18, 2017 to July 29, 2018

The nineteenth century was a turning point in Japanese history, commonly associated with the transition from pre-modern feudal society of the Edo period (1615-1868) to the Western-style modernity of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). In the past, 1868 was considered to be a rupture, an overnight departure from the Japanese/East Asian way of life in all aspects of culture and society, after the forcible opening of Japan by the American Commodore Matthew Perry’s “Black Ships” a decade earlier. However, recent studies have shown that the cultural shift from Edo to Meiji was more gradual.

Featuring more than fifty superlative works from the distinguished private collection of Dr. Lee and Mary Jean Michels, the exhibition explores this transitional moment in Japanese history through woodblock prints. The works on view were selected, researched, and presented by seventeen students who participated in a Spring 2017 seminar co-taught by Akiko Walley, Maude I. Kerns Associate Professor of Japanese Art in the Department of History of Art & Architecture, and Anne Rose Kitagawa, JSMA’s  chief curator and curator of Asian art.  Synthesizing the approaches of art history and museum studies, the class learned about the history of Japanese prints, collecting, and exhibition planning and design. With generous support from the Michels, students were able to examine, research, and discuss the prints and help to conceptualize the exhibition, which incorporates information from their final presentations and papers.

For many years, Dr. Michels has generously shared his knowledge about and passion for Japanese woodblock prints with students, colleagues, and the wider community. We are proud that our students have been able to reciprocate his kindness and show their gratitude by helping to organize this presentation. The installation has also benefitted from a JSMA Academic Support Grant.

Befriending the Body

What if you treated your body as you would a dear friend? What would you hear if you deeply listened to what your body has to say? Wherever you are on your journey, poetry offers you a pathway to the wide field of your imagination and the healing power of imagery. In a safe and supportive environment, our images are like medicine: word tinctures heal our wounds and open our hearts.


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