Winter 2014 Offerings at VCUarts Anderson Gallery

RICHMOND, VA- Opening in January at the Anderson Gallery, exhibitions by two artists examine urban transformation and the experience of place. In A Haunted Capital, photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier explores the effects of deindustrialization on the lives of individuals and communities from an intensely personal and socially activist stance, grounded in the particulars of locale. Ester Partegàs, on the other hand, approaches these themes from a conceptual point of view. Viewing the city as a provisional and packaged phenomenon, she interrogates the certainty and singularity of the urban spaces we occupy in You Are Here. Both exhibitions will open with a free public reception on Friday, January 17, from 5-7 pm and will remain on view through March 9.

Additionally, Sponge, a project by artist Hope Ginsburg housed on the Gallery’s third floor, will offer visitors the opportunity to see student work on January 17.  Twelve Five, a night of performances and other activities by students from the Ginsburg-led Fall 2013 course Live Art Workshop, will be ongoing from 5-7 pm.

The public is also invited to attend two related programs. A Conversation with LaToya Ruby Frazier and Dean Daderko, curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, will take place on Thursday, January 16, at 5:30 pm at the Grace Street Theater, located at 934 West Grace Street. The program is cosponsored by the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film. Ester Partegàs will give a gallery talk on Wednesday evening, January 29; refreshments will be offered at 5 pm, followed by the program at 5:30 pm. Both events are free.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital

Combining elements of portraiture and social documentary, Frazier’s photographs and videos portray her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, a working-class suburb of Pittsburgh. The site of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill, Braddock is one of many Rust Belt communities decimated by the rise of deindustrialization and the relocation of manufacturing oversees. Frazier’s portrayal of this American landscape is in stark contrast to images from a recent corporate ad campaign set in Braddock, which she felt not only erased the troubled realities of her endangered town but also excluded the community to which her family belongs.

As Frazier focuses her lens on her grandmother, her mother, and herself, collaboratively addressing issues of self-representation, she illuminates how personal and community history intertwine. Each generation of her family represents a different period in Braddock’s evolution, from its early twentieth-century prosperity to its steep decline in the wake of governmental abandonment. Braddock’s few remaining inhabitants, many of them African American, now struggle economically with little access to health care. Though intimate in scope, Frazier’s images powerfully draw attention to larger social issues pertaining to class and the environment. Among a number of other recent exhibitions, Frazier’s work was featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, Greater New York at P.S.1 MoMA in 2010, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s Younger  Than Jesus triennial of 2009. She is Associate Curator for the Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University and Critic in Photography at the Yale School of Art.

LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital is organized by the Brooklyn Museum.

Ester Partegàs: You Are Here

Ester Partegàs often addresses the most banal aspects of the urban landscape with a keen eye for telling details that otherwise would be overlooked or dismissed. She focuses especially on the psychological dimensions of indeterminate spaces, reflecting not only on how their anonymity can unmoor us, but also on the sense of possibility that can arise when considering anew the commonplace and discarded.

At the Anderson Gallery, in an exhibition organized by Director Ashley Kistler, Partegàs uses the format of a wrap-around installation, as she has previously, to situate the viewer in the kind of no-man’s-land that infiltrates the contemporary landscape to an ever greater degree. Black-and-white wallpaper encircling the gallery depicts a weed-choked expanse of a boarded-up structure—perhaps the wall of a former factory, now long abandoned.  This imagery reflects Partegàs’s longstanding fascination with borderlines and margins and the potential for transformation they represent, “where one thing is starting to become something else,” she notes.

The visual allure of several large-scale color photo-transparencies, illuminated in light boxes, offers a striking contrast to the surrounding backdrop. Upon closer inspection, these scenes of nature and freshly minted urban views reveal glitches—a rip, a fold, or a slice of background or foreground—indicative of their actual point of origin. Twice removed from reality, Partegàs’s photographs document images appearing on vinyl barriers around construction sites, as well as a point where the fictional subsumes any trace of the real. In You Are Here, her layering of image and space calls into question the meaning and certitude of this familiar phrase, challenging us to reexamine how we understand the world and our place within it.

Originally from La Garriga, Barcelona, Ester Partegàs is Assistant Professor in the VCU Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, where she began teaching in 2011. A new artist book will accompany her exhibition:  You Are Here designed by Alex Gifreu + Ester Partegàs, published by CRU, Figueres and Barcelona, Spain; hardcover, 80 pages, price TBA.

Ester Partegàs: You Are Here is made possible in part by generous support from Keith Fabry Reprographic
Solutions, Richmond.

GALLERY HOURS:  Tuesday-Friday, 10-5; Saturday & Sunday, noon-5; closed Monday.

The Anderson Gallery is the exhibition facility for VCU’s top-ranked School of the Arts,
located at 907½ West Franklin Street, in Richmond, Virginia, on the university’s Monroe Park Campus.

For more information and directions, please visit our website:

For a PDF of the press release, click here.

Image: LaToya Ruby Frazier, Momme Portrait Series (Shadow), 2008; gelatin silver photograph, 15½ x 19½ in. Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2011.63.2. © LaToya Ruby Frazier. Photo by LaToya Ruby Frazier.


VCUarts Anderson Gallery 2013 Fall Exhibitions

The fall season brings an array of exhibitions to the Anderson Gallery representing diverse approaches to material, form, and content. Visitors will encounter works on paper by the groundbreaking artist and anti-war activist Nancy Spero, and new works by two VCUarts faculty members—Bohyun Yoon, a newly appointed professor in the glass program of the Craft/Material Studies Department, and Hilary Wilder, an associate professor in the Painting + Printmaking Department. The Gallery will also screen an international selection of videos by 35 artists that reinforces the far-reaching importance of this medium around the globe.

All exhibitions will open on Friday evening, September 6, from 5-7 pm, with a free public reception. They continue through December 8.



Nancy Spero
The Underworld, 1997
Handprinting and printed collage on paper
63 x 19 inches (160 x 48.3 cm)
© Estate of Nancy Spero. Licensed by VAGA, New York. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York

One of the first opportunities in the U.S. to revisit Spero’s work since her death in 2009, this exhibition features two dozen rarely seen collages from the 1980s and 90s. These works reveal the artist’s innovative approach to printmaking in scroll-like expanses of paper, as well as her lifelong engagement with contemporary political, social, and cultural issues.

Spero decided to make women the sole subject of her artwork from 1976 onwards, drawing from different cultures, histories, and mythologies to create a heterodox pantheon of female archetypes. During the period addressed here, she continued to pay special attention to women as victims of war, furthering the investigation she began so powerfully in her War Series (1966-1970). In one group of works, she unflinchingly probes the torments resulting from oppressive regimes in Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and South Africa. Spero’s work from the 1990s, however, acquires a greater sense of agency and optimism as she removed her figures from historical contexts of suffering and subordination, transforming them into resilient, celebratory protagonists through color, rhythm, and humor.

Special thanks to Mary Sabbatino and the staff of Galerie Lelong for their generous assistance.


Bohyun Yoon: Neighbors

Bohyun Yoon uses the special properties of glass and the play of light and shadow to create installation, sound, and video works that often incorporate performance and the body. His fascination with cultural diversity, sparked by his 2001 move to the US from Korea and Japan, gave rise to Neighbors. Silkscreened onto individual glass panels, the 150 portraits that populate the installation depict individuals in the artist’s former Philadelphia community. Here, Yoon reinforces such formal aspects of his medium as transparency, refraction, distortion, and reflection, as he also seeks to evoke a deeper sense of human connection that supersedes physical, political, and social distinctions.

Project 35: Volume 2

This exhibition presents an eclectic compilation of 35 works, selected by an international group of 35 curators, exploring video as a contemporary art medium. The series will be presented in four parts, changing every three weeks, with eight or nine videos featured in each installment. Individual works range in length from two to 26 minutes.

The videos presented in this volume, produced between 2001 and 2012, explore such wide-ranging topics as protests in South Africa, youth culture in Ho Chi Minh City, news broadcasts in China, and street crime in Bogotá. Recurrent themes focus on memory and change, performance and documentation, fiction and history, and notions of place and identity, as well as the power of images and the role of the media in shaping collective experience. The series also explores the diverse approaches used by video artists, including documentary, YouTube, and digital animation.

Screening Schedule: Part I, September 7-29 / Part II, October 1-20 / Part III, October 22-November 10 /Part IV, November 12-December 8


Hilary Wilder in the Cool Spot Lounge

In an occasional series that features new, often site-responsive works by VCUarts faculty, Hilary Wilder will unveil a large-scale painting created for our gallery lounge. With this project, she continues to investigate the role of place, memory, and desire through the genre of landscape.

While Wilder’s spectacularly rendered, apocalyptic landscape imagery alludes to familiar, often picturesque visual languages, particularly the Romantic depictions of nature painted by Caspar David Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner, and the Hudson River School artists, she also remains skeptical of the romantic ideals they exalted in their sublime visions of an untamed America. By applying her own considerable arsenal of “painter’s tricks,” she brings into sharp relief the tension between fact and fiction, order and disorder, stability and chaos, and the real and the ideal that shapes human experience.

Project 35: Volume 2 is a traveling exhibition produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition is made possible, in part, by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Foundation for Contemporary Art, 

The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; the ICI Board of Trustees; and donors to ICI’s Access Fund.



GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday-Friday 10-5, Saturday & Sunday noon-5, closed Monday


The Anderson Gallery is the exhibition facility for VCU’s top-ranked School of the Arts,

located at 9071⁄2 West Franklin Street, in Richmond, Virginia,

on the university’s Monroe Park Campus.


For more information and directions, please visit our website:

It’s Summertime at the Anderson Gallery!

perfect cloud








An Anderson Gallery summer to-do list:

1. Visit us and see our summer exhibitions (on view through August 4):

Sanford Biggers: Codex
Jacob Lawrence: The Harriet Tubman Series
A new work by painter and VCU professor Ron Johnson in the Cool Spot Lounge

2. Come to a Happy Hour at the Anderson Gallery event (or two, or three, or eight!). Cash bar + free (amazing) programs, every Wednesday evening in June and July from 5-7. Find out what’s happening by visiting the events page on our website.

3. Submit your picture of a perfect summer cloud to our tumblr page ( All of the images will be gathered and printed on fabric. And, then, that fabric will be turned into a quilt at the final Happy Hour of the summer (July 31). Participate by submitting a pic or sewing a stitch and you can win the finished quilt!

4. Hang out in the Cool Spot Lounge. Kick off your shoes, read a magazine and enjoy the air conditioning. We’re open Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5 (noon-7 on Wednesdays); closed on Monday.

5. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest goings-on.


Brian Ulrich: Close Out—Retail Relics and Ephemera


VCU Professor creates installation from his personal archive

From January 18 to March 10, 2013, VCUarts Anderson Gallery will present Close Out: Retail Relics and            Ephemera, an exhibition of objects and images culled from photographer Brian Ulrich’s vast personal archive of retail artifacts. It appears on the gallery’s first floor in conjunction with Copia—Retail,Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001-11, an exhibition of Ulrich’s decade-long examination of the American consumer psyche organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. Both exhibitions will open with a public reception on Friday evening, January 18, from 5 to 7 pm.

Although Ulrich included several items from his collection with his own photographs in his solo show at Julie Saul Gallery last spring, this presentation offers the first in-depth look at his collecting activities relative to his overall artistic practice. “It also extends the narrative arc of his Copia project by making clear that what he began to document in 2001 has a much longer history,” notes Gallery Director Ashley Kistler. A limited-edition artist book will accompany the exhibition.

The compulsion to collect physical things, Urich observes, grew out of the act of making photographs. “After spending countless hours trying to photograph a sign on a long- abandoned mall, I concluded that while the 8×10 camera really does bring about dramatic transformations, some subjects test its limits. It simply seemed to make more sense to move the sign itself,” he continues,“which set in motion a succinct attention to the artifact.” Pictured at left, an electric sign rescued from the now-demolished Belz Factory Outlet Mall outside of Dallas will illuminate the gallery’s facade.

Among other items salvaged by Ulrich and featured in Close Out are images from an extensive newspaper cache of negatives documenting the Great Prosperity, the post- World War II period of unprecedented prosperity for America’s middle class. “I consider these images a prequel to my own work,” he says. Ulrich reedits, reprints, and assembles this found material to underscore a historical narrative that reflects the era’s burgeoning investment and faith in a consumer-driven culture. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a large group of Polaroids of shoplifters and related material scavenged from the demolition of Richmond’s Cloverleaf Mall evokes one consequence as income disparities climbed to new levels during the 1980s and 90s.

Close Out also includes an installation of   aluminum door pulls from long forgotten retailer Montgomery Ward; 1970s price label sheets from the former Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois; architect’s renderings and plans; and a myriad of other paper ephemera. A tape machine manufactured by Customusic, one of Muzak’s competitors, will provide the exhibition’s musical backdrop.

About the Artist

Born in 1971 in Northport, New York, Brian Ulrich received his BFA in photography from the University of Akron and his MFA in photography from Columbia College, Chicago.Since finishing his graduate studies in 2004, he has had solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Julie Saul Gallery, New York; and Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Galerie f5.6, Munich; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, Illinois;Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, among many other venues.

Ulrich’s photographs reside in such major museum collections as the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. In 2007, he was named one of the year’s 30 Emerging Photographers by Photo District News, and was a critic’s pick by Richard Woodward in ARTnews. In 2009, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Ulrich currently lives in Richmond, where he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Photography and Film at the VCU School of the Arts.

Happenings this Friday at the AG

Portrait as Community 
Anderson Gallery | 907 1/2 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284
On view Nov 30-Dec 9
Opening Friday Nov 30, 5-8 pm
Gallery Hours: Tues-Fri 10 am-5 pm, Sat-Sun 12-5 pm, closed Mon |


Portrait as Community is a student exhibition of multimedia projects documenting communities in and around Richmond. It is also the culmination of a special course inspired by Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond: A Community Remembers, a project organized by the Anderson Gallery with South African photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa and American Studies scholar Laura Browder. Students from the VCU Departments of Photography & Film and Art Education examined historical examples, research methodologies, ethical concerns, and artistic strategies related to the representation of communities, selecting and working with specific Richmond communities over the semester to create their projects.


Projects by: Jaclyn Brown, Casey Collier, Kate Fowler, Beth Harris, Lauren Lyon, Jessica Overcash, Mark Strandquist, Breonca Trofort, and Michael Weinheimer.

Portrait as Community was a collaborative course offered by the Department of Photography and Film, VCU Libraries and the Anderson Gallery. Yuki Hibben, Assistant Head of Special Collections, James Branch Cabell Library, and Michael Lease, Head of Exhibitions and Design, Anderson Gallery, professors.

Image credit: Jaclyn Brown, Delores, 2012. Digital C-print, 16 x 24 inches. 


Open Late
Sponge HQ
Anderson Gallery
One night only
Friday, Nov 30, 5-8pm


Open Late 11.30.12 – Relics and tales from Prototype for Preserving the Phylum Porifera are on offer in the Sponge HQ alongside a potluck organized by the artists of Portrait as Community, which opens concurrently in the gallery next door.


Prototype for Preserving the Phylum Porifera, a hands-on project in honor of the sea-sponge, was a Swarming for Mildred’s Lane and the Mildred Complex(ity) at the MoMA Studio: Common Senses exhibition. Now we’re bringing it all back home.

On view is a video specially produced for t

he project in New York, sea-sponges: felted and cast in beeswax and bronze, and a portfolio of archival material. The evening plays out amid hand-felted bee-box seats with honey to taste from the HQ hive.

With Colleen Billing, Colleen Brennan, Patrick Carter, Lindsay Clements, Riley Duncan, Gavin Foster, Hope Ginsburg, JoJo Houff, Julie Hundley, Joshua Quarles and Clare van Loenan.