The long-awaited Art Museum of Sonoma County will finally open to the general public Sunday.
The first exhibit features works from pop art icons Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. On display are 10 of Warhol’s famous “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” which were loaned, along with dozens of other pieces, to the museum by Portland real estate investor Jordan Schnitzer.
Schnitzer offered a sneak peek of the exhibit to museum donors, board members and other guests on Friday.
In addition to the “Campbell’s Soup Cans” Warhol first exhibited in 1962, other pieces of significant interest include:
*“Stonehenge (with Two Persons) Blue” and “Stonehenge (with Two Persons) Green,” both by John Baldessari. In the pieces, Baldessari uses bright-colored dots to obscure the photographic images.
*“I Love Liberty” by Roy Lichtenstein. The 1982 silkscreen print features a dramatic, close-up look of the Statute of Liberty. Lichtenstein was a leading figure in the pop art movement, known for his bright graphic work.
*Robert Indiana’s “Four Panel Love.” The red, white, and blue letter paintings later were reproduced on a postage stamp.
*“Totem,” a large woodcut by Keith Haring. Known for his graffiti-inspired drawings, he collaborated with other artists such as Warhol.
*“The Means to An End … A Shadow Drama in Five Acts” by Kara Walker. The contemporary African-American artist works race, sexuality, violence and gender issues into her silhouettes.
“Her work is agonizing, controversial,” Schnitzer said, describing her pieces. “She’s forcing us to deal with issues that have haunted our society.”
He also was thrilled that Diane Evans, executive director of the Sonoma County Museum, featured works by from MK Guth, an artist from Portland. Her lenticular images titled “There is no place like…” and “There is no place like… #2” depict ruby red heels and red high-top shoes.
It’s some of the most modern art ever to be showcased in Santa Rosa, said Henry Beaumont, chairman of the board of directors that oversees both museums.
“It’s an exciting day for Santa Rosa,” Beaumont said.
“We’re a pretty large city,” he added. “It’s time that we have a facility that can provide an expanded cultural outlook.”
The new museum has been in the works for decades. Located in the back half of the former Conklin Brothers flooring company, it’s steps from the Sonoma County Museum, where art shows have shared space with history exhibits for nearly 30 years.
“For the past 15 years, we’ve been working on the expansion,” said Evans, who also will oversee the new addition.
She and board members celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting before the tour of the museum. A disco-themed fundraiser party will be held Saturday night.
You can reach Staff Writer Eloísa Ruano González at 521-5458 or email@example.com. On Twitter @eloisanews.
NEW COUNTY ART MUSEUM
Public opening: 11 a.m. Sunday
Exhibition hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Address: 511 B St., Santa Rosa; the main entrance is around the corner on Seventh Street
Admission: Regular museum admission is $7, $5 for students and seniors, free for children under 12
Information: 579-1500, museumsc.org.
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