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By Karen Nikos-Rose on February 27, 2020

Five outdoor sculptures by Manuel Neri pop up in the landscape

This story submitted by Laura Compton, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art

Two new art exhibitions at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art are stopping visitors in their tracks.

“Gesture: The Human Figure After Abstraction | Selections from the Manetti Shrem Museum” and “Stephen Kaltenbach: The Beginning and The End,” which opened Jan. 26, embrace the museum’s “Art Wide Open” philosophy with public-facing elements designed to intrigue and engage passers-by.

A suite of five outdoor sculptures by Manuel Neri, UC Davis professor of art emeritus, unexpectedly inhabit the museum’s semi-landscaped west side, facing the Gateway parking structure. These works — bronze sculptures with a white alborada patina and yellow glaze — are "in conversation" with two indoor Neri sculptures on the other side of the window that are part of the “Gesture” exhibition and connect the interior gallery to the outdoors. The outdoor works were installed in the fall and will remain for three to five years. 

Neri sculptures
Neri sculptures "interact" with each other through the windows of the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Around the corner, a banner proclaiming “Build a Reputation” has been mounted near the roof on the south side of the museum, facing a parking lot. It’s also visible to passengers on Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor and Interstate 80 travelers. What does it mean? The answer can be found in the Stephen Kaltenbach solo show, which brings together a series of “micro-manifestos” he placed in Artforum in 1968 that ended up serving as a road map to his future activity. The Davis artist intended for the banner, as well as five Sidewalk Plaques placed around campus, to be encountered randomly.

“Stephen Kaltenbach: The Beginning and The End” is on view through May 10, and “Gesture: The Human Figure After Abstraction” will be on view through the end of 2020. Visit manettishrem.org for more information.

Sign outside museum
A banner proclaiming “Build a Reputation” has been mounted near the roof on the south side of the museum, facing a parking lot. It is an outdoor element of Stephen Kaltenbach's current exhibition. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

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