World-renowned art showcased at Fleming Museum

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This semester, students will have the opportunity to view world-class pieces by world-renowned artists right here on campus.

“Sargent to Basquiat” opens Sept. 22 at the Fleming Museum. The exhibit features 60 works by renowned European and American artists from the early modern to contemporary time periods director and curator Janie Cohen said.

A wide array of prominent artists-to-b_install_1s will be showcased, she said, including Pablo Picasso, Kandinsky, Edward Hopper, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

From cubism to abstract expressionism, these artists were pioneers in their movements Cohen said.

“It’s not a full history of the period, but it does give you a sense of the tremendous arch art history has taken in the 20th Century,” she said. “You get a sense of the thrilling ride that that was.”

While the collection is vast, various themes can be found. Mass consumerism is a theme present in the works by Warhol, Haring and Basquiat.

There is a screen-print of former Chinese Communist Chairman Mao Zedong and a photograph of the electric chair used to execute the Rosenbergs, both by Warhol, as well as a Haring drawing of a man with a television for a head.

“There are nice confluences between the works and some really cool content-wise connections,” Cohen said.

There is also a wide array of mediums within the exhibit, including Polaroid pictures, screen-prints, sculptures and even crayon on paper.

“This collection will have a lot of interest for students, especially the more contemporary pieces,” Cohen said. “That period is getting a lot of attention right now.”

“I’m pumped for the opening night,” sophomore Gracie Skillman said. “I want to take my family.”  

Students said the presence of the Fleming Museum on campus was a special opportunity.

“It’s a really special thing to have on campus; a real museum,” sophomore Lily Sevin said. “I feel like there aren’t a ton of schools who have that.”

Sophomore Madison Yates agreed about the uniqueness and value of the museum.

“The Fleming is amazing,” Yates said. “It’s my favorite place on campus and [it’s] really well curated.”

This collection is composed entirely of pieces from the private collections of UVM alumni.

“Art in private collections are such a treat because you never see them in museums,” Cohen said. “It’s a real opportunity.”

These alumni come from a diverse array of fields, from law to real estate, yet all share a deep appreciation and enthusiasm for art, which she said believes was instilled at UVM.

“It’s really valued here, the fact that the University has a strong fine arts museum,” Cohen said.  “Not all universities do, and we have a lot of students at our openings.”

 Accompanying this exhibition is a line-up of lectures, films and tours that will bring in leading art experts to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the works on view.

Among them is a series called “The Painted Word,” a collaboration between the Fleming Museum and the English department. It will be curated by professor Major Jackson.

Cohen said she encourages students to visit the museum.  

“This early exposure to art is really important,” she said, “regardless if it’s a part of your studies, even if it’s just a place you go to get some coffee, peace and quiet or to see an exciting exhibition.”