Asking questions is fundamental to the collecting and understanding of art, particularly contemporary art. That's why the Faulconer Gallery titled its fall opening exhibition "Start by Asking Questions: Contemporary Art from the Faulconer and Rachofsky Collections, Dallas."
With works by Janine Antoni, Eric Fischl, Mark Grotjahn, William Kentridge, Sigmar Polke, Yinka Shonibare, Kara Walker and others, "Start by Asking Questions" excites the mind and the senses with many provocative questions, says Lesley Wright, curator of the exhibition and director of the Faulconer Gallery.
"Some of the questions we expect our visitors to ask are:
- How do I approach this object that doesn't fit my expectation of what art looks like?
- What do I do with difficult feelings raised by the subject of this piece?
- Why are these two or four objects in the same space?
- Where do I even start?
Through our programming, our tours, and our educational materials, we hope people will ask these questions (and more) and begin to shape some answers."
The exhibition, which opens Friday, Sept. 18, brings 46 works to Grinnell College from two couples who are considered among the most adventurous collectors in the contemporary art world.
Vernon E. (’61) and Amy Hamamoto (’59) Faulconer have long supported the Faulconer Gallery, and their friends Howard and Cindy Rachofsky were named one of the top 200 art collectors in the summer issue of Artnews magazine.
Their art fills their homes and The Warehouse, a private collection space in Dallas, Texas, committed to exhibiting 20th- and 21st-century art, and to educating a diverse audience of students, teachers, and arts enthusiasts by encouraging them to deepen their engagement by asking questions of the art.
Although Vernon Faulconer, a life trustee of Grinnell College, died unexpectedly in Dallas on Aug. 7, his family decided to go ahead with the exhibition.
Amy Hamamoto Faulconer and Howard Rachofsky will attend the opening reception from 5–6:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Faulconer Gallery.
Preceding the reception from 4 to 5 p.m. will be a discussion titled "Collecting Art with Vernon: A Remembrance." Rachofsky and Wright will talk about Vernon Faulconer as an art patron and explore the world of art collecting and the role of private contemporary art spaces.
The "Collecting Art with Vernon" event and the opening reception are free and open to the public, as is the exhibition, which runs through Dec. 13. The Faulconer Gallery, closed for installation, reopens Sept. 18. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except for Thanksgiving, when the gallery is closed.
Programs and Events
The exhibition includes a variety of public programs and events, including musical performances. Faulconer Gallery has a complete list of events. Highlights include:
Gallery Talk, Sept. 21, 8 p.m.
(originally scheduled for 4 p.m.)
Artist John Gerrard will talk about his research into petroleum, the Dust Bowl and nitrogen in conjunction with his art created between 2007 and 2014. His piece, "Grow Finish Unit," is featured in "Start by Asking Questions."
Gerrard works with virtual reality, creating astonishingly real but entirely and meticulously time-based images, fabricated by the artist and his studio based on documentation of the agri-industrial landscapes of the American Great Plains. Co-sponsored by Artists@Grinnell.
Writers @Grinnell, Oct. 8, 8 p.m.
"If the Music is Too Loud You are Too Old — A Conversation with Grinnell College graduate Edward Hirsch about Poetry, Parenting, Disability and Grief." Hirsch (’75), whose poem "Gabriel," a long elegy for his son, was published in The New Yorker magazine and featured on NPR, is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and author of eight books of poems and five books of prose. Co-sponsored by Writers@Grinnell
Roundtable: A Conversation on "Emancipation Approximation," Nov. 17, 4 p.m.
Kara Walker's "Emancipation Approximation" (27 prints) explores the disconnect between the ideals of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the people it was meant to serve, with ongoing implications in our current society.
Walker's art provides the catalyst for a conversation about political and social change. Panelists include:
- Shanna Benjamin, associate professor of English;
- Lakesia Johnson, associate dean, chief diversity officer and associate professor of gender, women's and sexuality studies;
- Sarah Purcell, professor of history; and
- Leslie Turner, assistant dean of students and director of intercultural affairs.
Gallery Talk: The Public/Private Museum, Nov. 24, 4 p.m.
Gilbert Vicario, former senior curator at the Des Moines Art Center, will explore how collecting by public institutions and private individuals has changed the way we experience contemporary art.
Community Day, Dec. 5, 1:30-3 p.m.
Community members of all ages are invited to visit the Faulconer Gallery for a fun afternoon of art and hands-on activities, plus a tour of "Start by Asking Questions." Funding provided by Shane and Lauren Jacobson.