From weaponry to art exhibits

The Fleming Museum opened up to show off its three new seasonal exhibits on Oct. 14, displaying a variety of culture and history pertinent to students, faculty and even the casual observer. “What strikes me especially about the trio of temporary exhibitions on show now is how they illustrate the power of a survey museum to support a broad array of academic and artistic interests for students and faculty alike,” President Daniel Mark Fogel said of the opening. “Shadows of the Samurai: Japanese Warrior Traditions” addresses the Western world’s undeniable fascination with samurai cultures and bushido. The exhibit shows off traditional and ceremonial samurai accoutrements, from intricate armor, gilded with demonic images, to samurai weaponry, including a unique and ominous looking barbed spear called a sode-garami, or “sleeve catcher.”  “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection” spans the career of the two prolific and revolutionary artists. This exhibit allows the viewer to get an in-depth look into the intensive planning and inspirations that went into all their ephemeral works. The collection emphasizes their stellar use of colors in their pieces, and the endless ambition they possessed.  The inscription on the wall states: “A fundamental component of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work is the original drawings, collages and prints that accompany each project … [they are] works of art in themselves.”  The processes behind famous works such as “Wall of Oil Barrels,” “Wrapped Walkways” and “Surrounded Islands” are fascinating to behold, giving viewers a glimpse into the minds of two of the most famous and unorthodox artists of the past century. Perhaps the most fascinating exhibit, however, is “Metal/Materials/Culture,” created by UVM’s museum anthropology class of Spring 2010. As the title portrays, this exhibit displays the versatility of metals, as well as the cultural differences in metalworking.  “I love the individuality of all the pieces, you can imagine the craftsmen at work,” CCV student Lee Aaron Kash said. “Excellent display.” A plethora of regions and time periods are represented there, ranging from 3,500-year-old Egyptian copper bracelets to an elaborate 19th century flask from England composed of brass, gold, jade, coral and turquoise.  Together, these three temporary exhibitions supply a deeper look into history, cultures, and imagination. Whether it’s a hand-wrought ceremonial headdress, the inspiration to cover a palace in swaths of fabric, or a painstakingly rendered brass clock, one gets to glimpse the creativity and imagination of the human race. “‘Shadows of the Samurai’ and ‘Materials/Metal/Culture’ exemplify the wonderful role of faculty and students in helping to create and curate exhibitions that greatly enrich our academic programs in many fields,” President Fogel said.  While “Shadows of the Samurai” will be on display until next May, be sure to head down to the Fleming by Dec. 18 to catch all three.