Sad news for art-lovers on and off the UC San Diego campus: The University Art Gallery, which would have celebrated its 50th anniversary this fall, is permanently closing June 2, reportedly to make room for more classrooms.
It was not a complete surprise, since there was a “temporary” closure a year ago, but Visual Arts MFA candidates were readying their final exhibition for the gallery when they got the news. Thanks to an offer from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, they moved the show to the museum’s downtown location, where it will remain through June 3. And Tae Hwang, half of the graduating Magpie Collective, organized one last exhibit at the soon-to-be-empty space, calling it “Dispossessed: A Call for Prayer and Protest.”
On May 26, after about 100 people showed up for an afternoon protest march, somber-faced students and friends of the gallery came to walk through the closing installation, which looked like strings of white, slimmed-down Buddhist prayer flags draped around the room. Stamped on each strip of paper were the words: “University Art Gallery UCSD Sept. 10 1966 – June 2 2016.”
“The room seems so much smaller now than my memory of all the shows that occurred in it,” said Richard Gleaves, who was manning the desk. “You can really transform a space by filling it up with art.”
According to the UCSD Guardian, this will soon be the only UC campus without a gallery. Its last formal exhibition was the Visual Arts Department’s weeklong undergraduate art show, whose May 5 opening attracted more than 500 visitors.
See “Dossier Thalamus,” the exhibit by graduating VisArts MFA candidates, at MCASD downtown, 1001 Kettner Blvd., through June 3. Artists include Tae Hwang and MR Barnadas, aka Magpie Collective. Mention the show for free admission.
—The University Art Gallery, founded in 1966, has had a long-standing commitment to new and diverse forms of artistic practice, hosting some of the earliest exhibitions of performance and installation art on the West Coast. It is deeply tied to the history of artistic innovation in Southern California and the border culture of the U.S. and Mexico. Source: visarts.ucsd.edu