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Contact: Christine Payton April 23, 2004
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
 
UNIVERSITY ART MUSEUM HOSTS EVENING GALA
 
The University Art Museum of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette premiered three phases of a world-class facility on April 21, 2004, with an evening gala followed by a public opening on April 22.

The new facilities are designed to meet the highest standards in the museum industry. In Phase One, visitors will experience a complex series of sky lit spaces, juxtaposed with precisely tuned exhibition galleries where the enjoyment and appreciation of art is the main attraction. Phase Two consists of a replica of the Hermitage, a 19th century Louisiana River Road plantation house designed in 1967 by the celebrated Louisiana architect, A Hays Town. Phase Three is a new sculpture garden surrounding the museum buildings.

THE ARCHITECTURE

The sleek 21st century Phase One Building reflects the architecture of our time, utilizing steel, stone and glass. The 33,000 square foot building cost $8.5 million, and is being built with private funds including a lead gift of $3,000,000 from Lafayette philanthropists Lulu and Paul Hilliard.

The museum features special exhibition galleries encompassing 11,000 square feet including the largest free-span art museum gallery in Louisiana, designed to host major national and international exhibitions. Three of the building's exterior walls consist of approximately 50 pre-cast stone panels each measuring 33 feet high by 10 feet wide and weighing 22 tons. The remaining exterior curtain wall consists of one-inch-thick laminated glass that will exclude 99% of all harmful ultra violet rays and can withstand hurricane force winds in excess of 150 mph.

The museum's public spaces are paved with honed cordosa limestone, and its exhibition galleries feature the highest grade of clear, blond maple floors. The new museum also features state of the art security systems, a climate control system that maintains constant temperature and humidity levels, and a fully enclosed loading bay capable of housing a complete tractor trailer rig.

The dynamic juxtaposition of old and new architecture represented by the museum’s two structures is bridged by a 7,000 square foot plaza paved with Italian limestone, culminating in a dramatic 225 square foot computer programmable water wall designed by Jim Garland, one of the world’s leading water feature designers.

The University Art Museum's furnishings include a teaching collection featuring the most distinguished designers of the twentieth century, including Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Arne Jacobsen, Isamu Noguchi, Eero Saarinen, Jens Risom, Harry Bertoia, Warren Platner, and Frank Gehry; some of the most distinguished furnishings of any public building in Louisiana.

THE DONORS

The Museum for a New Century Campaign began with a $3,000,000 lead gift from Lafayette philanthropists, Lulu and Paul Hilliard. Approximately $5 1/2 million has been pledged since the official announcement of the capital effort last year, conducted under the auspices of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation. All major donors will be recognized at the opening gala on April 21st. The museum campaign, chaired by Dwight and Nedra Andrus of Lafayette, has a three million dollar goal.

THE ARCHITECTS

Eskew+Dumez+Ripple architects of New Orleans, Louisiana designed the new University Art Museum. This award-winning architectural firm is an acknowledged leader in the design of cultural facilities, having designed the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, the new Louisiana State History Museum in Baton Rouge, the expansion of the New Orleans Museum of Art, and museums and visitor centers across the Gulf Coast.

M. Goodwin Associates of Los Angeles, nationally recognized museum consultants, collaborated with museum director, Herman Mhire, on the building program. Other art museum programming projects completed by M. Goodwin Associates include: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art expansion; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the North Carolina Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Seattle Art Museum; the Walker Art Center and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The firm's university and private art school projects have included: the University of Texas at Austin; University of New Mexico; Rhode Island School of Design; Southern Methodist University; University of Notre Dame; Yale University Art Gallery and the Duke University Museum of Art.

THE CONTRACTOR

General contractor for the new museum is The Lemoine Company, Inc. of Lafayette, recognized statewide as a leader in the construction industry.

THE BUILDING COMMITTEE

The University Art Museum Building Committee was chaired by Gerald Dubroc and assisted by committee members Dwight Andrus, Jr., Julie Falgout, Executive Director of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation, and Herman Mhire, Director, University Art Museum.

INAUGURAL EXHIBITIONS

Four exhibitions examining various approaches to depicting the human figure will inaugurate the new University Art Museum.

Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures will feature 70 paintings, watercolors, and drawings in which the artist illuminates key moments of intensive study of a single model - Helga Testorf, a neighbor in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The Helga Pictures were executed during a fifteen year period, from 1971 to 1985, and were exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in 1987, the gallery’s first exhibition by a living artist.

A painter of landscape and figure subjects, Andrew Wyeth is one of the most widely recognized American painters of the 20th century. He works primarily in tempera and watercolor, and his style is both realistic and abstract, his subjects often appearing in unusual positions and juxtapositions. His work usually suggests the quiet isolation of rural life and is devoid of references to the contemporary world.

In contrast, the museum will host the exhibition Francis Pavy’s Louisiana. With a surrealistic brush, Francis Pavy fashions images of musicians and dancing couples possessed by the pulsating sounds of Zydeco. Lush sub-tropical landscapes are filled with a rich array of flora and fauna, the swirling waters of nearby swamps and bayous flowing in and out of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Francis Pavy juxtaposes complex patterns, brilliant color, and figurative distortions to achieve stunning effects. His paintings are filled with the signs and symbols of country and city, imbued with a lyrical sensuality reflecting a strong affection for life lived in Acadiana. In 1990, Rolling Stone magazine pronounced him the Picasso of Zydeco. He refers to his narrative paintings as image stories, often drawing upon the lyrics of rock and roll, Cajun, jazz and zydeco music.

Real Peoples: Selections from the Sylvia and Warren Lowe Collection, presents recent additions to the museum’s collection of southern folk art, sometimes referred to as“outsider” art. These figurative images were created by artists who were self-taught, independent, and isolated from the contemporary art world, and were given to the museum by internationally recognized collectors Sylvia and Warren Lowe of Lafayette. The exhibition showcases the richness and vitality of an image-making tradition unparalleled in other regions of this country.

Fabricated from modest, often recycled materials including roofing tin, cardboard, scraps of wood, house paint, magazines and manila envelopes, these works cover a spectrum from the more whimsical folk art modes to the sacred images of visionaries. From the clay figures of traditional Mississippi Delta blues musician James “Son”Thomas, to the painted tin constructions of Louisiana artist, David Butler, the vital, honest, and intensely unselfconscious images of these “outsiders” serve as evidence of the compelling drive to create which lies at the center of humanity.

Martin Payton: Sculpture features three large scale, steel sculptures by this nationally recognized Louisiana artist, installed in the museum's sculpture garden. Payton’s totemic sculptures explore themes of abstraction, West African inspired mythology and the influence of African-American jazz musicians. He begins with recycled industrial materials including steel girders, chains, and springs and restores to welded sculpture the human presence.

Born in New Orleans, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Xavier University and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is included in the permanent collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

MUSEUM BOOKSTORE

When the new University Art Museum opened on April 22, it will include a state of the art bookstore featuring contemporary and topical titles from publishers around the world such as Abrams, Taschen, Phaidon, and Abbeville Press.

Visitors will discover books covering a wide range of topics in the visual arts, architecture, design, music, and theater as well as a special selection of children's books. Illustrated catalogues accompanying many of the special exhibitions presented by the museum throughout the year will be featured. The 1,200 square foot museum store is located on the second floor of the new museum, offering a spectacular view of the A. Hays Town Building, the museum sculpture garden, the plaza and a magnificent water wall. Visitors may browse the bookshelves while relaxing on furniture by Knoll International. Patricia Ryan, Museum Store Coordinator says, "We look forward to the opening of our new museum store, and invite you to view our exquisite collection of books representing art and design from around the world.”

HOURS, PRICES AND LOCATION

The new University Art Museum is Acadiana's newest architectural landmark and one of the most distinguished museums on the gulf coast between Houston and New Orleans. The new museum will present a variety of special exhibitions, lectures, concerts and educational programs throughout the year, and is located at 710 East St. Mary Boulevard in Lafayette's Oil Center, with dozens of galleries, boutiques and award-winning restaurants nearby.

Museum hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and major federal and state holidays. Admission prices are Adult $8, Senior Citizens $6, Students (5-17) $4, Adult Groups of 20 or more $7, Student Groups of 20 or more $3. University Art Museum Members - Free with current Membership Card; U.L. Lafayette Faculty, Staff and Students - Free with current I.D.

GENERAL INFORMATION

For general information, call 337-482-5326, or visit www.louisiana.edu/uam. For membership information, call 337-482-1370 or e-mail leigham@louisiana.edu
 

Document last revised Friday, April 23, 2004 10:17 AM

Copyright 2003 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Public Relations and News Services · Martin Hall Room 319
Post Office Box 41009, Lafayette LA 70504-1009, USA
337/482-6397 · 337/482-5908 (fax) · prns@louisiana.edu