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USD Hoehn Gallery Opens ‘Christ: Life, Death, And Resurrection’

 September 13, 2019 at 10:02 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Today, the University of San Diego's Ho and family galleries opens an exhibit called Christ life, death and resurrection. It draws upon works of the Italian Renaissance from the British Museum, one of which is a sketch from Michael Angelo KPBS arts reporter Beth OCHA, Mando previews, the exhibit with USDS, Derrick Cartwright and British museums. Hugo Chapman. Speaker 2: 00:24 Derek, to begin with, uh, tell us about this new exhibit that's opening here at the University of San Diego. Speaker 3: 00:30 The exhibition is called Christ's life death resurrection. And it's a group of over 40 works from the British museums, stellar collection of Italian renaissance and later prints and drawings. And it's an incredible chance for San Diego to get a complete survey of first and foremost of British museums, great collections, but also these Italian renaissance works and some later works that may never come to San Diego again. Speaker 2: 00:55 And now people may expect to see student work here on a campus, but you bring in world-class art on a regular basis. So what is the commitment of the university to doing that and why do you feel that's important as part of the campus experience? Speaker 3: 01:08 What the university galleries and museums like ours have a special role. We're not interested in doing things that will just generate large visitation to the institution. We have another goal in mind. We want to expose our students but also the rest of the community to the finest things that men and women have made over time. And the chances for an undergraduate here at the University of San Diego to encounter a drawing by Michelangelo is an 18 year old and come back as many times as they want is something I wish I had when I was an undergraduate. But I think we're going to offer that, uh, throughout this fall semester. And I think because of great colleagues like Hugo, we're able to show them the, as I said that very best things. Speaker 2: 01:50 And Hugo, you have a fabulous title keeper of Prince at the British Museum. What is the keeper of Prince Do? Speaker 4: 01:58 Well, keep, it just means I hold the keys. So if, if anything goes missing, I'm the guy who gets the sack. Rarely. Uh, but I think just to pick out what Derek says, I mean, my life changed because of the British Museum going as a student to look at Ralph our drawings. Uh, when I was studying him. And from that moment I thought, these are the most amazing works I've ever seen and I want to spend my life looking at works on paper. So shows like this really can change lives. Speaker 2: 02:25 And you curated this event. So what were you looking for in terms of the specific prints that you decided to choose to bring here? Speaker 4: 02:33 Well, that both prints and drawings. I mean, I think the idea was to both tell, uh, the story of Italian art from the 14 hundreds to the early 19th century. We really wanted to blow the socks off San Diego. So we very much chose our, a team, these, you know, great artists, but also got slowly Michelangelo and [inaudible] Karate. I mean, these great names. Um, and I want just people to look at these works, to understand different techniques, to understand how artists have looked at these narratives in different ways. And Yeah, just really kind of get close to these works on paper. Speaker 2: 03:11 You mentioned Michelangelo and three crosses is the piece that you've brought from him. Explain to people what this looks like and why it's an important piece. Speaker 4: 03:21 So this is Michelangelo. Uh, in the early 1520s, uh, he's back in front his hometown. He's probably making this drawing for somebody else to make a sculpture from a sculpture that doesn't survive. He's drawing in red choke, a very characteristic technique and, and, and, and Florence. And at the top is, is the three crosses Christ with the two thieves on either side that's very detailed. And then below it he shows in very sketchy way, very kind of cubist, simplified way. The group of morning women kind of really, really in a frenzy of grief of what they're seeing. Speaker 2: 03:58 And why is it important to bring works like this over? Speaker 4: 04:01 Well, I think as, as Derek says, you know, the chance for everybody to come into this show free of charge, you can just nip in and just have a look at a couple of, of works and then go away and think about them. I think, you know, these are works. You don't have to be a Christian. You can be of any denomination, you can be agnostic and atheist. It's about engaging with this art. Thinking about how artists have told these very familiar stories in, in different ways, uh, in different techniques. You know, these stories are about birth and death, these uh, tunnels and mankind stories. So there's a lot here Speaker 2: 04:38 and with a lot of artwork being readily available on the Internet. But why is it important for people to actually come and kind of face to face, look at the actual works of art? Speaker 4: 04:49 Well, I love the availability and accessibility of, of art digitally, but I mean there is, there is a real charge about standing in front of a piece of paper that Michelangelo has touched. I mean, you don't get, you know, you can touch your screen of your computer or your, or your phone as much as you as you like, but you do not get that sense that you are. And that's the extraordinary thing about it that works on papers, that immediacy about them, the feeling that you've, these things have just been set aside and they could have been done five minutes ago. And I think that is extraordinary. And so that's something you really can't recreate digitally. Speaker 2: 05:29 And these are all Italian renaissance artists. What is it about them that makes them unique or that makes them stand apart from picking works about Christ from other areas or other artists from other countries? Speaker 4: 05:43 Well, I mean, I, I guess as I've, you know, explained my kind of, my kind of moment of epiphany was looking at Italian art. So I mean, I'm an Italian artist. That is the kind of, uh, this is the, the center for me. Uh, but you know, you could do it a show about, uh, Netherlandish artists or German artists. I mean, I think a talented artist do it in a particularly kind of poetic way. They do it with this sort of mixture between classical art, uh, the, uh, so these sort of combining of Christianity and, and paganism in a very, uh, interesting and exciting and innovative way. But you know how I, you know, I think, uh, uh, they're not the only show in town, but I mean, uh, come and see. I mean, see if you think, uh, a Thailand [inaudible] is, is still the top dog. I mean, I think so, but a Derrick may make things differently. I don't know. Speaker 2: 06:37 [inaudible] Derek, how does this exhibit reflect kind of the university's Catholic heritage and why is this kind of an important exhibit to have here? Speaker 3: 06:47 Well, I think it is a good mirror of the mission of this university, both in its Catholic identity but also in its commitment to, um, educate the whole person. So as Hugo said, this is an exhibition which I think for somebody who's, um, very spiritual, we'll have a significance that they may never forget. But for our students who may not all have that experience, this is a show that will put them as Hugo so nicely said in direct contact with the great minds of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. And they will, um, learn something and avidly from that encounter. And that's what we're trying to do with the galleries is be as broad as possible. This is a show that I think so nicely fits in with the strategic goals of this university for its students, but also for the surrounding community. It, it engages the world by bringing people like Hugo into town and share sharing his knowledge with us. Um, I think those are important things. We were talking a moment ago about our habits of, you know, looking to our phones or our screens for information. And I think with that comes to kind of loss of attention. We look at things for a matter of seconds, but these are works of art that you could really spend the whole day with if you chose to. And I hope a few people will take us up on that challenge. Speaker 2: 08:11 I know the, Michelangelo was kind of a centerpiece here, but do you each have a favorite piece aside from that? Speaker 4: 08:17 It's a bit like selecting, which is your smartest and favorite child. But, uh, I mean, I love this, this, this print in front of us and not by an artist that anybody's particularly heard of code. A guy called committed procaccini works at the end of the 16th century and it's shows the transfiguration. That's when Christ goes up on top of a mountain and his body becomes tons into, into light. It glows with this extraordinary radiants and committed proxy Ini thinks about how am I going to, how am I going to show this amazing moment of transformation? And this show is all about Christ's body, how it is over the course of his life just transformed. Uh, and so he's done that by this wonderful sort of flicks of the etching needle so that Christ's body is there but also not there at the same time. And I think that's such a sort of innovative and brilliant, uh, way of expressing the ineffable nature of, of, of this, of this moment, uh, that really every time I look at it, I think what an amazing invention. Speaker 3: 09:23 And Derek, I think a lot of people will come to this exhibition because it's maybe their only chance to see a Michelangelo drawing. But for me the drawing that's hanging right next to it, the frothy depot sleepy, which is this delicate ink drawing and full of so much nuance and almost barely there to the eyes. So compelling to look at and it's one of a handful I think drawings that survived by that artist. And the fact that we have that here. Thanks to you Hugo is amazing to me. So I want to publicly thank you. Speaker 1: 09:57 And they're also going to be some lectures and gallery talks associated with this. What can people expect from that? Speaker 3: 10:03 A lot of programming. So in addition to the 40 plus works that are here at USD, there are another 12 works at Simkin who goes lecturing there. We've put together a program with faculty members from the College of Arts and sciences, so different disciplines, specialists in, in, in literature, history, philosophy, theology are all speaking from their disciplinary points of view about the renaissance and the religious moment in which these works were created. So I think for the public who wants to take a deep dive into this material, this is the best chance that they're going to have for a long while in San Diego. Speaker 1: 10:39 All right. Well, I want to thank you both very much for sharing this exhibit with us. Thank you so much. That was Beth OCHA Mando speaking with Derek Cartwright and Hugo Chapman about USDS, exhibit of Italian Renaissance Works called Christ life, death, and resurrection. The exhibit opens today and runs through December 13th it's free to the public.

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The University of San Diego’s Hoehn Family Galleries on Friday opened an exhibit called "Christ: Life, Death, and Resurrection." It draws upon the works of the Italian Renaissance from The British Museum and includes a drawing from Michelangelo.
KPBS Midday Edition Segments