Campus Art Gallery Gets New ‘Beginning’

    UCSD’s University Art
    Gallery
    opened again to the public
    last month with a recently renovated space, new curatorial directorship and
    fresh exhibition titled “In the Beginning.”

    While UAG reopened on Jan. 19, the space has been a part of
    UCSD since 1978. It closed in 2006 for remodeling.

    The gallery’s transfigurations include renovated walls, a
    new floor and reception desk, different staff and what new curator Stephen
    Hepworth calls “a more open and flexible feel.”

    “In the first few days it was great to see people spotting
    it on Ridge Walk,” Hepworth said. “From this enthusiasm we can start to build
    on previously existing audiences and find new ones.”

    Hepworth is a London-based artist with experience managing
    other noted galleries such as the nonprofit Tannery, the Jerwood Gallery —
    which assists young artists in the development of their careers — and Bloomberg
    SPACE in London. He was recruited
    by Amy Adler, a member of UCSD’s visual arts department.

    “What was interesting to me was that there was the desire
    and commitment to relaunch the space with an emphasis on current contemporary
    art within the supported environment of UCSD,” Hepworth said. “The gallery
    should speak to not only those who are involved in the university, but to a
    larger public beyond its campus.”

    “In the Beginning,” UAG’s current exhibition, features work
    by 20 artists from Europe and America
    who used contemporary approaches to create pieces that involve words in a
    variety of compositions.

    The collection is composed of different forms of media —
    including paintings, sculptures and video — all centering on words in relation
    to their form and meaning.

    The exhibition runs through Mar. 9 and will also include a
    series of scheduled talks and events that opens panel discussions to the public
    and allows attendees to interact with some of the exhibit’s artists.

    “Many of the staff from both San Diego’s
    Museum of Contemporary
    Art
    and Museum
    of Art
    attended the opening and
    were impressed with the first show,” Hepworth said.

    UAG, in partnership with UCSD’s visual arts department, will
    now be open year-round for a total exhibition of five shows. Visual arts Chair
    Lesley Stern will serve as director.

    In addition, the campus’ MFA students will be able to
    showcase their work at an annual exhibition.

    “We’re very excited — once again the gallery will become a
    lively part of the university and of the larger San Diego-Tijuana-L.A. region,”
    Stern said in a press release. “In time we hope to extend to an international
    presence.”

    Hepworth said he is optimistic about the gallery’s future,
    citing galleries at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California
    College
    of the Arts as successful
    models to which UCSD aspires.

    “The University Art
    Gallery
    is joining part of a larger
    community of spaces, all of who have their own voices,” Hepworth said. “What is
    important is that we are mutually supportive and seek collectivity to grow both
    audiences, and the profile of San Diego
    as an important city for contemporary art.”

    The University Art
    Gallery
    is open from Tuesday to
    Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the west end of Mandeville
    Center
    .

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