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Megan Cavanaugh & Kelly Stevelt
May 05, 2022
The Last Gunfight, screening May 10 as part of Mifune + Okamoto, © 1960 Toho Co., Ltd.
As the academic year winds down at Ohio State, we at the Wex are also wrapping up some of our rewarding yearlong partnerships with K–12 schools. Each year, our Pages literacy program engages hundreds of students from urban, rural, and suburban high schools and invites them to encounter Wex exhibitions, films, and performances alongside in-class sessions with Wex educators and guest artists. The intensive experience culminates with an Open Mic poetry reading—our festive event just took place last week—and a professionally designed anthology of the students’ art and writing. Take a peek at the most recent edition of Pages and see what our amazing youth have to say.
But the year is not over yet. On May 5, we’ll kick off the monthlong series Mifune + Okamoto celebrating the legendary Japanese actor Toshirō Mifune, who starred in such Akira Kurosawa epics as Rashōmon and Seven Samurai, and his lesser-known collaborations with director Kihachi Okamoto, a prolific Toho studio vet. Though most associated with action movies—think gangsters and sword-wielding samurai—Okamoto also had a flair for comedy, plot twists, and surprise endings. This series promises all of that and more; if you love a good story you’ll not be disappointed!
We’re also excited to announce that on May 16 we’ll host the innovative Chicago-based jazz drummer and producer Makaya McCraven and band in Mershon Auditorium as they perform in support of their recent record, Deciphering the Message. Utilizing the tools of hip-hop, McCraven is a master of collaging sound and looping beats, and this latest project—described as “a sprawling love letter to the history of jazz” (uDiscoverMusic.com)—blends tracks from the historic Blue Note label with his own live sessions. Bring the whole family to this feel-good tribute to the history of Black music in America.
And finally, we wanted to let you know that new developments are underway at the Wex as we emerge from (what we hope is) the worst of the pandemic. Watch your inboxes as we roll out some exciting announcements later this month.
Until then, we look forward to seeing you at a film or performance or strolling through our galleries before our To Begin, Again exhibition closes this Sunday!
YogArts, photo: Abby Kamagate
In this month’s note, we’d like to call your attention to some of the crucial (though sometimes less visible) work we do at the Wex to reach diverse audiences and promote self-care, empowerment, and education through art.
Serving a variety of communities—from those who have experienced brain/mind trauma and women emerging from incarceration to the general public—our Art & Resilience programming is focused on cultivating mindfulness and healing from injuries both physical and emotional. Available to all, our popular On Pause meditation series, developed in partnership with The Yoga Carriage @ Replenish, offers a weekly opportunity to relax while enjoying contemporary art’s therapeutic possibilities. And monthly YogArts workshops encourage families to enjoy the benefits of stretching and meditation together. Both programs are presented free of charge on wexarts.org.
Art & Resilience is directed by longtime Wex staff member Tracie McCambridge, who recently received a Community Engaged Practitioner Award from Ohio State. Read more about Tracie and the transformative work she oversees on our blog. If you or someone you know would like to get involved, please reach out to her.
Out and about in the community, our Department of Learning & Public Practice team led by Dionne Custer Edwards is engaging youth and families where they live. Learn about the fantastic work LPP is developing alongside the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department to provide free art classes at Columbus’s Linden Community Center. And explore LPP’s vast array of free workshops, gallery tours, author readings, film screenings, artist talks, K–12 educational experiences, and more here.
And finally, we’d like to call your attention to our upcoming DeeDee and Herb Glimcher Lecture, which takes place tomorrow, April 6, in the Wex Film/Video Theater. This year’s speaker is architect Kimberly Dowdell, who will discuss the urgent issues of climate action, social equity, and how the built environment can maximize human potential while minimizing environmental impact.
Each year this lecture series, generously endowed by the Glimchers, features some of the world’s leading artists, architects, and designers. This year’s talk will help us understand how sustainability can help build a better future. For even more exciting spring events, check out the center’s calendar.
We hope to see you soon!
FLY or DIE, photo: Peter Gannushkin
As we transition out of the depths of winter and into the light of spring, we’ve got some invigorating Wex events on tap to fuel the anticipation.
We’re thrilled that after a two-year, pandemic-related delay, avant-garde trumpeter and composer jaimie branch and her FLY or DIE quartet will finally make their Columbus debut on March 22 in our Performance Space. With FLY or DIE, branch has been delivering riveting live shows that incorporate throaty vocalizing and fiery social commentary along with the “ghostly sounds” of her masterful horn playing (New York Times). Get your tickets now; jaimie branch: FLY or DIE is here for one night only—and seating is limited.
Speaking of events that sell out quickly, the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour—wildly popular with Wex audiences since 2006—arrives March 29–30. Each night features a completely different lineup of inspiring outdoor adventure filmmaking from around the world, including snowboarding, skiing, climbing, BASE jumping, and more. You’ll want to move fast to secure your tickets!
Be sure to RSVP for the upcoming Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change, which takes place virtually on March 9. Titled 400Forward, this year’s event features an important group of Black voices representing the arts, humanities, and sciences: Hanif Abdurraqib, Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother), Anaïs Duplan, Rasheedah Phillips, and moderator Kimberly Drew. This inspirational panel will help us catalyze thinking about the future of Africans in America and envision the creation of a more equitable and inclusive society.
In other news, we are excited to announce that the Wexner Center will partner with Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme on the upcoming cross-disciplinary series On Possibility: Social Change and the Arts + Humanities, published by The Ohio State University Press. You can read more about this exciting collaboration here.
And finally, if wintry weather has kept you from visiting our exhibition To Begin, Again: A Prehistory of the Wex, 1968–89, we hope that warmer temps will encourage you to experience this fascinating look at Ohio State history. Find information to plan your visit here.
Looking forward to seeing you this spring at the Wex.
Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington in Mississippi Masala, screening as part of the 2022 Cinema Revival: A Festival of Film Restoration; image courtesy of Janus Films
We’re thrilled to invite you to the Wexner Center this Friday, February 4, for our Winter Exhibition Preview celebrating To Begin, Again: A Prehistory of the Wex, 1968–89, a rare look at 20th-century artworks collected by or presented at Ohio State during the 1970s and ’80s. Join curator Daniel Marcus at 5:30 PM in Mershon Auditorium for a conversation about the university’s entwined legacies of artistic experimentation and grassroots activism with panelists Jerri Allyn, Stephanie Blackwood, Julian Myers-Szupinska, and Mark Svede, then browse the galleries to experience more than 80 works by artists such as Futura2000, Eva Hesse, Adrian Piper, and Sol LeWitt. This fascinating exhibition captures Ohio State’s emergence as a laboratory of avant-garde culture and a platform for dialogue and dissent—you don’t want to miss it!
Just a reminder that later this month, February 24–28, we’ll once again revel in the art and practice of film restoration as we host (in person this year!) the eighth-annual Cinema Revival: A Festival of Film Restoration. The perfect way to spend a cold-weather weekend, the festival features visits from film restoration experts, plus an exciting lineup of works by Vittorio De Sica, Nina Menkes, Douglas Sirk, and many others.
We’d also like you to mark your calendars for two important upcoming lectures. On March 9, we’ll host the 2022 Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change, titled 400Forward, featuring Hanif Abdurraqib, Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother), Anaïs Duplan, Rasheedah Phillips, and moderator Kimberly Drew. Panelists will examine 400 years of Africans in America and imagine what being Black can mean in the future. On April 6, our DeeDee and Herb Glimcher Lecture spotlights architect Kimberly Dowdell, who will discuss how the built environment can maximize human potential while minimizing environmental impact. We are ever grateful to our generous sponsors DeeDee and Herb Glimcher for their unwavering support and endowment of this important lecture series.
And finally, we are enormously pleased to announce that the Wexner Center will receive a $150,000 American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, an award designed to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. These much-needed funds will greatly assist us as we move forward despite ongoing pandemic-related challenges.
We hope to see you in our galleries Friday for To Begin, Again and at programming and events throughout the coming months. Please know we’ll continue to have protocols in place to ensure your visit is as safe and enjoyable as possible.
We write to wish you a very happy new year! Here at the Wex, there’s so much to look forward to as 2022 ramps up.
Opening February 5, our winter exhibition To Begin, Again: A Prehistory of the Wex, 1968–89 explores the cultural currents that led to the center’s founding and spotlights impressive yet little-seen highlights from our permanent collection. Get ready for a rare look at dozens of 20th-century artworks collected by or presented at Ohio State during the 1970s and ’80s—works by artists Futura2000, Eva Hesse, Adrian Piper, Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, and many others. Read more about the show from curator Daniel Marcus.
That same weekend, with our galleries fully activated, we’re pleased to announce that after a pandemic-related pause we’re finally able to present award-winning director Annie Dorsen’s Yesterday Tomorrow in the Performance Space. In this “funny, joyous, and twisting journey of sense to nonsense and back to sense again” (Exeunt Magazine), three vocalists sight-read an algorithmically generated score based on “Yesterday” by the Beatles and “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. It’s a marvel you won’t want to miss!
Things will also be lively in the Film/Video Theater starting January 14 when we’ll feature the series Soundtrack by Herbie Hancock, a look the phenomenal Grammy award–winning jazz musician and bandleader through his movie scores from the 1960s–90s. This unsung collection is not only a riveting musical catalogue but also provides a fascinating window into Black film history. Now in its eighth year, Cinema Revival: A Festival of Film Restoration returns February 24–28. This annual weekend celebrating the art and practice of film restoration welcomes back experts Lee Kline (Criterion Collection) and Tim Lanza (Cohen Film Collection) and features restored films by the likes of Vittorio De Sica, Nina Menkes, Sarah Maldoror, and Douglas Sirk. And lastly, our monthly, online YogArts series resumes January 15; relax and stretch with your family from the comfort of home!
With so much happening at the Wex this winter, from exhibitions to live performance and films, we hope you’ll stop by and make a day of it: browse the exhibition, see a film, grab a snack at Heirloom Café, and peruse postholiday deals in the Wexner Center Store. We've put protocols in place to help keep you safe, including masking in all indoor spaces and reduced capacity to allow for safe distancing. And remember: gallery admission is free with your ticket to any Wex event.
We hope to see you soon and often!
As we head into the final weeks of the year, we wanted to take a moment to express our gratitude to you for your ongoing support and interest in the Wex. We have been energized to have so many of you join us in person for a film, performance, talk, or a stroll through the galleries and continue to appreciate the many ways we are able to connect online as well. These opportunities to come together through the arts in any format continue to motivate us and our work here at the Wex.
This month is especially exciting—and not just because we find ourselves in the midst of the holiday season where fellowship and gratitude are hopefully the order of the day. To encourage you to stop by before the new year, we’ve got a few opportunities made possible by our generous supporters that we know will inspire a visit.
This Sunday, our music series wraps up 2021 with an intimate performance by two of experimental music’s most riveting artists: Mary Lattimore and Walt McClements. If you’ve experienced our in-person performances by Grammy nominee Arooj Aftab or legendary guitarist Marc Ribot, you’ve seen and heard firsthand how music in Mershon Auditorium is a captivating, communal experience while providing plenty of space to socially distance. To help celebrate being together for our last concert in 2021, you can pick up an extra ticket to the show for a friend for free when you purchase yours (be sure to add two tickets to your cart online to enjoy this offer).
On December 11, the Zoom: Family Film Festival returns for a day full of films from around the world, plus activities, tours, and a few other surprises. This year’s Zoom is entirely free with a single ticket and will be held in Mershon to ensure safe spacing and ample room to enjoy this annual favorite. Masks will be required for all guests over the age of three.
The year rounds out with the closing week of Jacqueline Humphries: jHΩ1:), a milestone exhibition featuring an array of works by the vanguard painter. Admission will be free for everyone December 27–January 2, making it a perfect postholiday or new year treat.
We couldn’t do what we do without you and we hope to see you and yours at the Wex soon!
You’ve likely heard that we have been asked to lead the Wexner Center as co-interim executive directors during the search for Johanna Burton’s replacement—and we’re deeply honored to serve in this capacity. We send our heartfelt thanks to Johanna for her tireless contributions over the past two and a half years and pledge to continue the work she so highly prioritized, particularly institutional progress toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
Before we point toward some of the exciting happenings this month at the Wex, we wanted to take a moment to briefly introduce ourselves.
Megan has been at the Wexner Center for nearly two decades. Before assuming her current role as chief operating officer in 2019, she served as the center’s director of exhibitions management, director of patron services, and head registrar, among other roles, including curating such exhibitions as Sarah Oppenheimer: S-337473, Architecture Interruptus, and All of Everything: Todd Oldham Fashion. Megan is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and has earned both a Master of Architecture and a Master of Business Administration from Ohio State.
Kelly joined the Wex in 2019 and oversees all fundraising activity and government relations as chief advancement officer. Before coming to the center, she was the director of development and affinity for the Columbus Metropolitan Library and worked for the University of Maryland and the American Alliance of Museums. Kelly earned her Master of Arts in Arts Policy and Administration and Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Economics from Ohio State. She also was the inaugural deputy director of Ohio State’s Urban Arts Space, first managing administration, education, and programming before being promoted to oversee exhibitions as well.
Please be assured that during this important interim period we will work closely and collaboratively with one another, Wexner Center Foundation Board President Bill Lambert, Ohio State Provost Melissa Gilliam, and the Wex's leadership team and entire staff to build a strong foundation for the next executive director.
In the meantime, our fantastic programming continues unabated. On November 14, we’ll welcome legendary guitarist Marc Ribot—who’s performed with Laurie Anderson, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, and many others—for a riveting solo show in Mershon Auditorium. New York–based painter Amy Sillman (featured in our 2018 exhibition Inherent Structure) joins us virtually on November 16 for the final Diversities in Practice talk of the year to discuss what gives her work its aesthetic and ethical shape. And on November 19, Bill Morrison will introduce and discuss his latest film, The Village Detective: a song cycle, created with the support of a 2018 Wexner Center Artist Residency Award and lauded as "strangely intoxicating" by the New York Times.
As we embark on this next chapter for the Wex, we feel fortunate to do so surrounded by an amazing team of colleagues and the support of members and friends like you. Together, we’ll continue to further the center's mission while finding ever more ways to welcome and engage the community.
Thank you for your commitment to the Wex.