The Pomona College Museum of Art launched the new weekly event Art After Hours, established to make art a more prominent aspect of campus life, on Sept. 2nd. Every Thursday night, museum hours are extended to 11 p.m. with live bands and DJs for entertainment, and free food and drinks for refreshments. According to the museum, future events will include lectures, panels, workshops, and film screenings.
The event focuses, of course, on the art itself. Currently, the museum is hosting two special exhibitions outside of its permanent collection — Ginny Bishton’s “Project Series 41” and Steve Roden’s “When Words Become Forms.”
Bishton, a Los Angeles-based artist, is currently showing two sets of work. The first set contains photo collages of brightly colored homemade soups, abstractly composed so that they appear as groups of variously sized, vibrantly hued circles against a brightly colored background. The piece “De Nada” is a favorite. The collages are complemented by her second body of work, intricate pen and ink drawings that at first glance look like strips of plaid material. With a closer look, however, Bishton has actually drawn thousands of lines, composing grids on papers that are arranged to create a work of incredible texture and pattern. Students were amazed by the meticulous detail of her work and the sheer beauty of its abstraction. “I can’t believe how much detail and effort is put into each piece. The exhibit really shows her artistic process, and that’s really interesting,” Brendan Gillett PO ‘14 said. Aside from its aesthetic power, Bishton’s work explores conceptualism, minimalism, photography, and drawing, or, as explained by Bishton herself, “the perceived value of quotidian activities and minutia.”
In contrast, Steve Roden’s exhibit “When Words Become Forms” is centered around a large installation entitled “Bowrain,” formed by hundreds of pieces of wood placed near projections of alternating drawings and videos. In this piece, which was created especially for the Pomona College Museum of Art, Roden combined his eclectic artistic inspirations to produce a work that is truly amazing and exciting to view. Lights and sounds flash everywhere as “Bowarin” fills up the room to create interesting shadows and reflections. As the lights are off, the shadows and projections are particularly compelling.
Although many students came to Art After Hours to view Bishton’s and Roden’s work, many also attended for the overall experience. With performances from BATHS, So Many Wizards, and W-H-I-T-E on Sept. 2 and Meho Plaza and Tomorrows Tullips on Sept. 9, many students were drawn to the event for the live music component.
In recent weeks, however, music has been provided by KSPC’s Mobile DJ Unit, and despite the initial huge turnouts of Art After Hours, the program has become notably less crowded. As opposed to a concert-like vibe at the earlier events, Art After Hours has adopted a more mellow and low-key atmosphere. Instead of large crowds dancing, groups of students relax on the grass and talk. Museum attendant, Pomona senior Matt Hedley, feels that the small showing in this past week was due to poor advertising. He is among many who think that the museum should do more to encourage student attendance. Nevertheless, the majority of those who attended agreed that the event was quite enjoyable, commenting that both the art and the music were excellent. From art enthusiasts to music lovers to those who simply want to add a little variety to their Thursday nights, Art After Hours is a worthy event that more should attend.