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Director's Welcome

Welcome to the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary laboratory for contemporary art. While winter weather has surely alighted in our region, activity at the Wex is positively heating up. Amazing films, performances, and educational experiences await you—plus an acclaimed exhibition making its only stop here outside of LA, where it was selected by critics from the New York Times, Vogue, and Artforum as among the best museum shows in the country last year.

On view January 30–April 10, Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada celebrates the multifaceted career of a true American innovator. The first African American to graduate from what is now CalArts, Purifoy began his artistic career by transforming the rubble of the 1965 Watts Rebellion into a series of provocative sculptures. Alongside his creative practice, he dedicated his life to social change, introducing the power of artistic expression to a community struggling for its voice. At the same time, he exerted a striking influence on several LA artists, including such masters as John Outterbridge, Betye Saar, David Hammons, and Ed Ruscha. Purifoy’s work looks absolutely magnificent in our galleries, and I encourage you to come see for yourself.

While February is, of course, Black History Month, the Wex is proud to celebrate African American artistry every month of the year. Showcasing the nation’s rich history of independent African American cinema, Witness: Black Independent Film (Jan 21–Feb 18) features classics by Spencer Williams, Kathleen Collins, and Spike Lee while shining a light on such emerging talents as Arthur Jafa, who joins us in person on February 4. Our 2015–16 jazz series steams ahead as well, with concerts by NEA Jazz Master Charles Lloyd & The Marvels on Feb 6, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls on Feb 27 (featuring the alto saxophonist’s fiery new compositions inspired by Charlie Parker), and local legend Mark Lomax with his Trio on June 3.

While we can’t raise the temperature outside, we can (and will) offer electrifying experiences to stoke your creative fires in the months ahead. So come on, break up with your couch and join us for exceptional artistry and inspiration at the Wex.


Sherri Geldin