The arts scene is coming back in full swing as the University welcomes students back to campus. From celebrating the Center for the Arts’ (CFA) 50th birthday to opening two art galleries and filling concert halls with the sounds of music, we are excited to introduce you to all the visual arts and music events happening this semester!
Two galleries will be featured on campus this month: “No Title: Relays + Relations” and “Understanding China in the Age of Unequal Treaties”. “No Title” includes works by artist, writer, and filmmaker Renée Green ’81 and minimalist and conceptualist artist Sol LeWitt in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. “Understanding China in the Age of Unequal Treaties” will reopen in the College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) art gallery at the Mansfield Freeman Center.
“No Title” will be available for public viewing starting Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m., kicking off with remarks from the artist and curator Associate Director of Visual Arts Benjamin Chaffee ’00. As a part of Homecoming and Family Weekend, students and families are invited to attend a curator talk and exhibition walkthrough on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 2:00 p.m. During the semester, students will be able to view the art from Tuesday to Sunday between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. until Dec. 3.
During her time as a student at the University, Green was touched by the works of LeWitt, and hopes to inspire younger artists to conceptualize art in new directions. The exhibit will combine work from throughout her career with three wall drawings by LeWitt, two of which are being installed by University students. Although the art will mainly be on display in the Zilkha Gallery, parts of it will also be viewable on the second-floor lobby of the gallery and in Olin Memorial Library. Make sure to check it out before it closes!
“Understanding China in the Age of Unequal Treaties” will reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 20, and close on Friday, Dec. 8. It focuses on the cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world following the Opium Wars in the 1800s and examines stereotypes about China in the 18th and 19th centuries. The works included have been curated by Sabrina Tian ’24 and chosen from the CEAS Art and Archival Collection.
As part of the CEAS majors committee, Tian was one of the students offered the opportunity to curate a gallery. They put together the pieces during Winter 2022 and the gallery has been on display since Spring 2023.
“I had a pretty tight time crunch, and that really limited my options to being objects within the collection that we already had at CEAS,” Tian said. “A lot of people don’t know that the CEAS collections are actually really, really rich, and they’re such a good resource for students on campus, but they’re never shown.”
Tian decided to display the exhibition chronologically and divide the pieces into representations of Chinese culture made by or for Westerners on the left side of the gallery and historical documentation showing what was really happening at the time on the right. One portion of the exhibit includes a scrapbook detailing conferences for Chinese international students held at universities in the northeast and features Wesleyan as one of the first schools to hold one.
“I invite students to take a look at those,” Tian said. “It’s just really cool to see how Wesleyan was involved in all of this history.”
If you weren’t able to see the gallery while it was on display during the spring, make sure you drop by the CEAS Gallery before it closes in December!
Music events on campus kick off this week and continue all throughout the semester, spotlighting performers from around the world, professors pursuing their passions, and talented student groups. Keep an ear out for these concerts happening before fall break!
Nicolas Collins ’76 MA ’79 will perform live electronic music and showcase his talents in experimental and improvised music on Friday, Sept. 15 at 8:00 p.m. in the World Music Hall. To fully immerse students in the experience, Collins is teaching two DIY Electronic Sound workshops—on Friday, Sept. 15 at 1:00 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 16 at 10:00 a.m.—where students will be given the opportunity to create their own electronic music devices. These workshops will be held in the Disengineering Lab in Exley room 220 and are co-sponsored by the Disengineering Society.
For those who want to relax outside while they enjoy music, the CFA’s 50th Birthday Party will begin on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2:00 p.m., with a performance by Sunny Jain’s “Wild Wild East,” which focuses on Jain’s identity as a South Asian-American immigrant, mixing the music of Westerns and Bollywood. The fun will continue as the performance involves students in the art process, giving them the opportunity to screen print their own CFA design, contribute to a collective mural inspired by LeWitt and Green’s gallery, and build human-sized paper flowers. Music-minded students are invited to bring their own instrument and take part in a world music mash!
Later this month, a performance by Arthur Russell’s “City Park”—a concert incorporating chamber music, electronics, concrete poetry, turntablism, and modern rock—will be taking place on Friday, Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m. between Crowell Concert Hall and World Music Hall. If you’d prefer to be inside, we encourage you to attend “between systems and grounds: Chapter 3 Part I,” on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:00 p.m. in the Music Library in Olin. This will combine musical and visual art, with music by Professor of Music Paula Matthusen and her students in “Introduction to Experimental Music” (MUSC109), and works by visual artist Olivia Valentine. Make sure not to miss “between systems and grounds: Chapter 3 Part II,” which will premiere in the same space on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 4:30 p.m. All of these events are free to attend.
The first week of October brings concerts showcasing Indian music in Crowell Concert Hall by Adjunct Associate Professor of Music B. Balasubrahmaniyan on Thursday, Oct. 5, The Akkarai Sisters on Friday, Oct. 6, and PhD candidate Suhail Yusuf Khan MA ’18 and Henry Hodder ’20 on Oct. 7. All performances will begin at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for Thursday and Saturday’s concerts are available for $12 for the general public, $10 for University alumni, faculty, and staff, and are free for University students. Friday’s concert is $20 for the general public, $15 for University alumni, faculty, and staff, and free for University students.
Two tribute concerts for University alumni—John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Emeritus Richard K. Winslow ’40, Hon ’10, P ’71, GP ’23 and William Wasch ’52, P ’84, ’84, ’92—will be taking place in Crowell Concert Hall on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 3:00 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 3:00 p.m., respectively. Additionally, the first in a series of four performances titled “Instrument—Body,” that explore the tension between making music with a body as opposed to an instrument, will debut on Friday, Oct. 20 at 2:00 p.m. in the Joe Webb People’s Museum of Natural History. These performances will feature bassist Brandon Lopez and musician and multimedia artist Cecilia Lopez MA ’16, and three are free to attend.
With such a wide variety of music and arts events happening on campus this semester, we encourage you to add them to your calendar, and make sure you support all the talented artists and performers on this campus! In addition to University-sponsored events, student groups including Mic Check, Black Raspberry, Slender James, Triple Major, The Wesleyan Spirits, Mazel Tones, and many more will be hosting concerts throughout the semester. Keep an eye out for more updates as the year progresses!
Caleb Henning can be reached at email@example.com