Performing Arts and the Human Experience Exhibit

“Showing Us Our Own Face”: Performing Arts and the Human Experience is now on view through May 2020, in the Special Collection Research Center’s exhibition gallery on the second floor of Fenwick Library.

As Zelda Fichandler remarked, “the theater is capable of showing us our own face, plumbing for us the human heart, leading us to the edge of our own mind.” This exhibition celebrates the myriad faces and experiences of those who dedicate their lives to the performing arts. Through six disciplines – Opera, Ballet, Theatre, Musical Theatre, Dance, and Music – the exhibition examines the power of the performing arts, and its ability to “show us our own face.”

The exhibition features items from SCRC’s major performing arts collections (as well as some smaller collections), including documents, photographs, playbills, programs, artist books, posters, rare books, and other objects. Fascinating objects on display range from an illuminated manuscript of choral music from the 1400s to East German posters advertising opera and ballet to a braille script for “All the King’s Men” from an Arena Stage production.

In conjunction with the exhibition, an opening reception will take place on Tuesday, February 11 at 2pm in Fenwick Library, Room 2400 (Special Collections Research Center). Rick Davis, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will speak about the importance of performing arts, followed by a short tour of the exhibit. Light refreshments will be provided.

D(C)MV COMICS Exhibit

Join cartoonists Malaka Gharib and Athena Naylor for a discussion of autobiography and personal storytelling in comics at 4 p.m. today in Fenwick 2001. Moderated by Christopher Kardambikis (Asst. Professor, Printmaking), this conversation is presented as part of the exhibition D(C)MV Comics, currently on view in Fenwick Gallery, and will be recorded for the podcast series Papercuts. A light opening reception will follow in Fenwick Gallery from 5-7 p.m. Learn more about this exhibition and related events at https://fenwickgallery.gmu.edu/exhibits/dcmv-comics.   

About the Artists: Malaka Gharib is an artist and writer based in Washington, D.C. She is the author of I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir, about being first generation Filipino Egyptian American. She is a journalist on NPR’s science desk, covering global health and development. Malaka is the founder of the D.C. Art Book Fair and a food zine called The Runcible Spoon. In her free time, she likes drawing comics and making zines, and her work has been featured in The NibCatapultThe New York TimesThe Washington Post and The New York Times Style Magazine. Athena Naylor is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Washington, D.C, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She specializes in autobiographical comics and illustration. She also specializes in being a giant nerd. Athena received a Master’s in Art History from The George Washington University in 2017 and, unsurprisingly, wrote her thesis on comics.

Opening Reception for “A War of Contradictions: The Vietnam Conflict, 1945-1975”

Join the Libraries for a reception and tour of “A War of Contradictions: The Vietnam Conflict, 1945-1975,” our Special Collection Research Center’s current exhibit, on Tuesday, October 22, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the SCRC Seminar Room (Fenwick Library Room 2400). Light refreshments will be served. Dr. Meredith Lair, Associate Professor, History and Art History, will make introductory remarks, and a tour of the exhibit will follow.

Dr. Lair’s work examines warfare and its relationship to American society and culture, with particular emphasis on how knowledge and memories of the past are constructed and disseminated over time. She is the author of Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War, which examines the non-combat experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam. Professor Lair’s teaching interests include war and American society, post-1945 US social and cultural history, the Vietnam War, and historical methods. She also serves as director of Mason’s Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) Master’s program.

About the Exhibit: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” This quote, attributed to a U.S. Army officer in February 1968, illustrates the contradictions inherent in the Vietnam Conflict. Seen by some as a noble fight to stop Communism and help a developing country establish democracy, and others as interference in a war of national liberation and a destructive waste of money and human life, Vietnam remains one of the more polarizing topics of the twentieth century. This was evident in the words, actions and writings of politicians, journalists, authors, clergy, and others. The conflict, which spanned 30 years, from September 1945 to May 1975, was responsible for 1.5 million to 3.5 million civilian and military deaths. One of the major flash points of the Cold War, Vietnam was, and still is, a subject about which many have differing opinions.

This exhibit, curated by Bob Vay, SCRC’s Digital Collections and Exhibition Archivist, features items from Special Collections Research Center’s Rare Books, University Archives, and manuscript collections.  

Call & Response: Transmogrify

Fenwick Gallery at George Mason University is pleased to host Call & Response: Transmogrify. The exhibition will run from October 3 through November 9, 2019. A panel discussion with the artists and writers will be held on Thursday, October 10 at 1:30 p.m. in Fenwick Library 2001, with a reception following in Fenwick Gallery beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Call & Response is an annual exhibit of collaborations between writers and visual artists, in which one calls and one responds. The result is a dynamic set of paired works of words and artistic media that resonate and speak to contemporary issues. The theme for the eleventh annual Call & Response is Transmogrify. The term transmogrify means to change, but various dictionaries add “magically,” “utterly,” “surprisingly,” and even “in a grotesque manner.” This collaboration between writers and artists relies on a kind of metamorphosis, one in which a spark from the caller’s work is made apparent in a new form in the responder’s. How do we transform one another? How does one work surprisingly or even utterly, alter our view of another?

Call & Response is an ongoing partnership between the Mason School of Art, the English Department’s MFA program in Creative Writing and the University Libraries, and is presented in conjunction with the annual Fall for the Book festival. The exhibition is curated by Heather Green (Faculty, InterArts, School of Art), and Christopher Kardambikis (Faculty, Printmaking, School of Art), in collaboration with Stephanie Grimm (Art & Art History Librarian & Fenwick Gallery Manager) and Tanya Dieudonne (Fenwick Gallery Graduate Assistant).

For more information on this exhibition at Fenwick Gallery, visit https://fenwickgallery.gmu.edu/ or contact Stephanie Grimm (Art and Art History Librarian) at sgrimm4@gmu.edu. For general inquiries about the University Libraries or George Mason University, contact Jessica Clark (Development and Communications Officer) at jclarkw@gmu.edu.