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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Art and Art History is now welcoming back in-person visitors to the John Young Museum of Art and The Art Gallery with safety restrictions, after being shut down for several months due to COVID-19.

Enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented, a maximum of five people are allowed in galleries at a time, face masks are mandatory, safe physical distancing of at least six feet must be followed and only UH Mānoa students, faculty, staff and affiliated community members are allowed to visit since the campus remains closed to visitors. Pollack said reopening has perhaps been easier than other public museums and galleries because UH Mānoa galleries are located on campus and follow university COVID-19 policies.

“As gallery director here at UH, art is such an important part of our curriculum and what we offer as a university,” said Maika Pollack, director and chief curator, John Young Museum of Art and university galleries, and assistant professor of curatorial studies and art history. “Many people don’t realize that between the BFA and the BA, art is one of the largest majors at UH Mānoa. We are thrilled to be able to safely continue our mission to provide examples of cutting-edge art practice and exhibition research in a diverse array of media, and to provide students with access to the artworks in our permanent collection, as is befitting of an R1 (Research 1) university.”

Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the annual student BFA group show, a popular event, which is scheduled for every spring. Pollack also noted that one surprising challenge has been to figure out how to host exhibitions featuring large groups of living artists—called “group shows”—versus individual artists.

“Even when exhibition viewing can be distanced, installation demands close proximity of installers to artworks and sometimes to one another,” Pollack said. “It can be challenging to figure out how to schedule distanced individual drop off of multiple artworks and to install everything remotely.”

Current galleries

art display
Invenção 4 – Revista de Arte de Vanguarda (São Paulo, Edições Invenção, 1964) Moraes Barbosa Collection, Portugal

“Networks, Collaboration and Resistance in/between Portugal and Brazil, 1962-1982” is on view in the John Young Museum of Art until December 10. This exhibition is the first in Hawaiʻi with works from the collections of two major archives of experimental poetry, the Arquivo Fernando Aguiar in Lisbon and the Coleção Moraes-Barbosa in São Paulo. Experimental poetry in Brazil and Portugal resisted police and military power, oppressive governments and in Portugal, protested colonialism. This exhibition represents nearly 400 poets and authors who took the form of some of the most radical experiments ever seen in magazine publishing. This exhibition was curated by Pollack and Rui Torres.

“Carissa Rodriguez: The Maid” is featured in The Art Gallery in the Art Building until December 10. Rodriguez’s solo exhibition follows a selection of American artist Sherrie Levine’s “Newborn” sculptures in various residences, private and institutional, from New York to Los Angeles. Levine made the works in crystal and black cast glass in the early 1990s. Through this exhibition, Rodriguez engages the conditions and settings in which art circulates, proposing that the futures of artworks are inherently speculative. This exhibition was curated by Ruba Katrib from MoMA PS1 in New York. “Carissa Rodriguez: The Maid” was previously on view at SculptureCenter, NY; MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, MA; The Walker Art Center; and The Art Institute of Chicago.

“Chapter One: Lucas Blalock” is the first of a year-long series of solo exhibitions, Out of the Camera: Beyond Photography, in the Art Building Commons Gallery by artists who work primarily as photographers but whose practices extend well beyond traditional definitions of the medium. This showcase will be on display until November 5. Blalock, who lives and works in New York, works with visual editing tools to create compelling images that interrogate the status of contemporary photography. The exhibition was curated by Pollack. Exhibitions in the Commons Gallery will be on view through the windows of the gallery only, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For more information and details on virtual events, visit the Department of Art and Art History website.

—By Marc Arakaki

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