UC Davis Humanities Graduate Show Shines Light on Excellence from Art to Music to Political Science

Back in Person After 2 Years, Exhibition On View at Manetti Shrem Museum June 2-19

Art installation including geometric lines, color video, with purple hue
Coagulation Incarnate by Whitney Vangrin, M.F.A., Art Studio, is just one of the projects that will be on display at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in a graduate art exhibition.

Quick Summary

  • New endowed art prize to expand opportunity, collection
  • Prizes will be announced at public event June 2

University of California, Davis, College of Letters and Science graduate students will share their work with the public again as the multidisciplinary “Arts & Humanities 2022 Graduate Exhibition” returns to the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in June following two years of virtual exhibitions due to COVID-19.

At A Glance

The “Arts & Humanities 2022 Graduate Exhibition” is on view June 2-19 at the Manetti Shrem Museum, 254 Old Davis Road, Davis.

Hours: Monday, Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Visit manettishrem.org for information about UC Davis’ safety protocols. Admission is free for all.

A free, public opening celebration with a poetry reading, music and dance will take place June 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The exhibition, on view June 2 through June 19, showcases 27 M.F.A., M.A. and Ph.D. students from art history, art studio, creative writing, design, mathematics, music, performance studies and political science. Many of the students take on the pressing issues of our time, including environmental destruction, political divisions, racism, immigration, disability justice and more, while others engage with personal experiences, memory and aesthetic practices. Their projects take a wide range of forms, including sculpture, photography, ceramics, painting, experimental music, virtual reality, drawing and thesis presentations by art history master’s students.

Collage with dollar, lettering, colorful paper with writing
Deshonesty, work by Trace Manuel, M.F.A., Design

Some examples include:

Trace Manuel (design) showcases DARB 1000, an eager-to-please prototype chatbot developed to help design students and educators seamlessly (and joyfully) integrate reflective writing into studio curricula.

Whitney Vangrin (art studio) presents a geodesic viewing dome in the museum’s courtyard that will offer visitors an immersive video experience designed to “awaken a viewer out of passive observation.”

Joseph Vasinda (music) composed a full-length album, Hidden Gems, based on the colors of different crystals. He believes in using everyday materials to create music; the album’s electronically modified sounds stem from music made with a mallet and a metal Bundt cake pan.

Emily Szasz (art history) examines the 2017 sale of a painting — attributed to Leonardo da Vinci — for $450 million to show how the implications of attributing an artwork to a famous artist undermine forms of qualitative evaluation.

“We are pleased to partner with the museum in presenting the wide and imaginative range of art, design, music, writing and more from our graduate students,” said Estella Atekwana, dean of the College of Letters and Science. “The annual exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for our students, and also for the campus community and those beyond, to see the excellence of the college on display.”

Artwork design concept that looks similar to a waffle cone in a stand
A work by Valentyna Hrushkevych, M.F.A., Design.

New art prize offered

A new award celebrates UC Davis’ art innovators. The inaugural LeShelle & Gary May Art Purchase Prize will award $5,000 to an art studio M.F.A. student, joining the Keister & Allen Art Purchase Prize and The Savageau Award in the Department of Design.  

“It’s very exciting news for students that two art prizes are being awarded in addition to a design award,” said museum Founding Director Rachel Teagle. “This generous support and recognition underscores our commitment to elevating the achievements of our graduates both within this exhibition and as they launch their careers.”

The art prizes enable the museum to continue the tradition of purchasing graduate student work for the university’s Fine Arts Collection and building an endowment to eventually acquire a work from every graduating M.F.A. student. Works gifted to the collection or acquired by purchase prizes comprise 594 objects by M.A. and M.F.A. artists and include pieces by renowned graduates Bruce Nauman ’66, Stephen Kaltenbach ’67, Deborah Butterfield ’73 and Kathy Butterly ’90.

Performances at opening; art history the next day

The public opening June 2 features a poetry reading by Amanda Hawkins (creative writing); a music and dance collaboration between Trey Makler (music composition) and choreographer-dancer Moscelyne ParkeHarrison inspired by tarot, theories of utopia and the late Professor Emeritus Manuel Neri’s figurative sculptures; and a demonstration by doctoral students Orkun Akyol (music) and Kyle Johnson (math) of a sound synthesis tool they developed using chaos theory models.

The prize winners will also be announced at the opening event.

Art history students will present their work at a colloquium June 3 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the museum.

Media Resources

Media Contacts:

  • Laura Compton, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, 530-304-9517, llcompton@ucdavis.edu
  • Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science, 530-219-8258, jaaday@ucdavis.edu

Publicity images available upon request — view a gallery and list of participants here.

Primary Category