AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The “1072 Society Exhibition,” a collection of artworks being considered for the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art’s permanent collection, will open to the public Saturday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m. An opening reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at 5 p.m.
Each year, a varied selection of art is brought in to be considered for purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, a donor society that supports the museum’s efforts to build the permanent collection. This year, in keeping with the focus on indoor and outdoor sculptural exhibitions in celebration of the museum’s 10th anniversary, all the acquisitions will be sculptures.
Dennis Harper, curator of collections and exhibitions, said, “We tried to get a broad selection of sculptural work, not only in the subject matter but geographically and historically, so we can show that sculpture isn’t just one approach. Also, although we didn’t intentionally seek out underrepresented artists, it turns out that we have works from noted African Americans and women.”
Two pieces in the exhibition, contemporary artist Willie Cole’s “Downtown Goddess” and a commemorative work in marble by Thomas Crawford, show the variety of sculptural works under consideration.
Harper said Cole is one of the major names in contemporary art and is shown and collected internationally. “Cole takes a lot of consumer and domestic products from Western civilization, particularly American, and then reuses them to make these individual and unique works of art,” Herper said. “A lot of his work deals with his African American heritage.”
“Crawford’s 19th century marble commemorative work featuring the head of a young boy depicts a popular folk tale of the time, where two orphaned children, banished to the forest and marked for assassination by their greedy uncle, lie down in each other’s arms and die of hunger,” Harper said. “This sentimental representation of death was a motif used often in the early 19th century to soften the pain of the high child mortality rate.”
The 1072 Society was started in 2008, with the annual individual membership of $1,072 paying tribute to the amount paid in 1948 to purchase at auction the “Advancing American Art” collection, the seminal collection at the museum that provided the inspiration for the society’s formation. Cindy Cox, membership officer, said that since the 1072 Society began at Auburn, the efforts of the community have resulted in the purchase of 15 pieces of fine art.
“The great thing about this exhibition is that 1072 society members are really helping to shape the direction of the collection by discussing the works with us,” Harper said. “We are interested in the types of art our audience responds to and enjoys. By pooling the money with other interested members who have the welfare of the museum and community at heart, they can grow the museum. One person with $1,072 may not result in a purchase, but 50 people who are passionate about the arts can build the legacy of collecting.”
Those interested in receiving information about the 1072 Society Class of 2014 can contact Cindy Cox at (334) 844-3005 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Charitable, tax-deductible gifts in support of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art or other programs at Auburn are made through the Auburn University Foundation, which receives such gifts on the university’s behalf. Donors, alumni and friends can make a philanthropic gift in support of the museum by visiting www.jcsm.auburn.edu/support, or learn more about the various means of donating to Auburn University at https://develop.auburn.edu/how/. For more information about the museum, visit www.jcsm.auburn.edu or call (334) 844-1484.
(Contributed by Charlotte Hendrix.)
Charlotte Hendrix, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, (334) 844-7075 (email@example.com), or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (firstname.lastname@example.org)