Manetti Shrem Museum Unveils Spring Exhibitions

Newly Opened Museum on the UC Davis Campus Presents Riveting Exhibits

Quick Summary

  • Features artist Sadie Barnette’s first solo museum exhibition
  • Marc Johnson’s award-winning short film presented in collaboration with the Kramlich Collection

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art has announced its spring exhibitions, featuring Oakland-based artist Sadie Barnette’s first solo museum exhibit and an award-winning short film by French-Beninese artist Marc Johnson.

Located at the University of California, Davis, the contemporary art museum is free for all, and visitors are welcome to view the new exhibits from April 14 through June 30.

In Dear 1968,… artist Sadie Barnette mines personal and political histories using family photographs, recent drawings, and selections from the 500-page file that the FBI amassed after her father joined the Black Panther Party in 1968. This immersive reimagining of the family album demonstrates that Barnette’s family story is not theirs alone. Examining the fraught relationship between the personal and the political, the everyday and the otherworldly, the past and the present, she reveals that the injustices of 1968 have not yet been relegated to the pages of history, but live on in new forms today. 

Marc Johnson, YúYú, 2014. Film still, featuring Shé Zuŏ Bīn, edition of 4+1 AP. Courtesy of the artist, collection of Pamela and C. Richard Kramlich

Marc Johnson’s film YúYú, presented in collaboration with the Kramlich Collection, documents a rite of spring performed by beekeeper Shé Zuŏ Bīn. Against panoramic images of the iconic landscape of China’s Wulong County, the beekeeper enters a trance with nature by summoning thousands of bees from 40 hives to cover his body, which is temporarily transformed into a living sculpture. Johnson is an artist, architect and film director who creates projects that “collapse time and space by tapping into the spiritual power of ancient knowledge and the communicative capacities of current media technologies,” according to his biography. See a video about the Kramlich Collection.

Other 2017 spring exhibitions include Recent Gifts, an eclectic collection of donated objects tracing the intellectual history of UC Davis faculty and students, and from this point forward: 2017 Arts and Humanities Graduate Exhibition, an innovative approach to the traditional thesis exhibit as graduates across multiple disciplines present their artwork, design installations and research projects.

Sadie Barnette | Dear 1968,…

April 14-June 30 (opening reception April 13; curated by Francesca Wilmott)

Oakland-born artist Sadie Barnette filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a 500-page FBI file, which includes documents punctuated with official markings, redacted informant names and handwritten notes. She adorns them with the embellishments of her birth era — glittery vinyl, pink spray paint and rhinestones — in an attempt to reclaim her family’s history.

Father of Sadie Barnett
Sadie Barnette, Untitled (Dad 1968), 2016. Enlarged polaroid photograph, 46 x 40". Image courtesy of the artist


Barnette lives and works in Oakland and Compton, California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from CalArts and her master’s degree in fine arts from UC San Diego. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including The Studio Museum in Harlem; the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; the Oakland Museum of California; and Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. Named as one of the “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know” by the Huffington Post in 2013, Barnette has recently been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and Artforum, among other publications. Barnette is represented by Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles. More information about the artist. 

Marc Johnson | YúYú

April 14-June 30, 2017 (opening reception April 13; curated by Betti-Sue Hertz)

Marc Johnson first learned about beekeeper Shé Zuŏ Bīn’s annual performance from an intriguing story he read in a Chinese newspaper while studying at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. After two years of research and preparation, Johnson and his team shot the film, YúYú, in April 2014, during bee-pollination season. The film begins with a sequence of panoramic images that establish the scope and scale of the film’s natural and cultural geography, and set the scene for what is to come. Focusing primarily on Shé Zuŏ Bīn performing a rite of spring in a quest to recover the environmental balance of the Yangtze Valley, the film documents the beekeeper standing on a rock high up on a mountain that overlooks the Jialing River as bees from 40 hives cover his body. By the end of the ceremony, Shé Zuŏ Bīn is temporarily transformed into a living sculpture with a second skin of swarming bees.

Marc Johnson is an artist, licensed architect and film director working at the intersection of architecture, performance, photography and cinema. He holds degrees from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris and the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais with additional studies at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China; and Hunter College, City University of New York. More information about the artist.

Recent Gifts

April 14-June 30 (opening reception April 13; curated by Laura Fried)

In its 60-year history, the Department of Art at UC Davis has amassed an eclectic collection of objects — almost exclusively built upon gifts — that traces an intellectual history of faculty and students. This exhibit features a selection of gifts received in the last five years. Highlights include a major gift of drawings by Manuel Neri along with important gifts from Robert Arneson and Sandra Shannonhouse, Wayne Thiebaud, and Jock Reynolds, among others. Recent Gifts celebrates the museum’s rich collection and provides insights into the university’s radical and vibrant art community.

From this point forward: 2017 Arts and Humanities Graduate Exhibition

May 27-June 30 (opening reception June 1; curated by Arielle Hardy)

The exhibit from this point forward will celebrate the spirit of UC Davis by presenting an innovative approach to the traditional graduate thesis exhibition. It will commingle artwork, design installations and research projects from students across disciplines including art, creative writing, dramatic arts, history and music. The graduates will present their work visually and through public programs, creating opportunities for dialogue.

About the museum

The Manetti Shrem Museum is a contemporary art museum whose roots go back to the 1960s, when a group of originals arrived at UC Davis. Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson and William T. Wiley were among the first to be hired at the Department of Art. This first generation pioneered an interdisciplinary approach to art-making that has produced scores of influential figures, beginning with Bruce Nauman and Deborah Butterfield. Located along Interstate 80 on the south edge of the UC Davis campus, the museum, which is free for all, is open Tuesdays through Sundays and closed Mondays.

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