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Pomona College museum to host After Hours party

The Pomona College Museum of Art’s ongoing Art After Hours series will return with a Fall 2014 kickoff event on Thursday, September 4 from 5 to 11 p.m.

Guests will be invited to view the museum’s current exhibits, including Petrochemical America: Project Room, Project Series 49: Sam Falls, Allied Against AIDS: Sue Coe's AIDS Portfolio and Miniature Worlds: Chinese Snuff Bottles.

The celebration will head into full gear beginning at 9 p.m. with live music spun by a KSPC DJ, an ice cream sundae bar, raffles and prizes. The event is free and open to the public.

Petrochemical America is a traveling exhibition organized by the Aperture Foundation, which showcases a partnership between photographer Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff.

Their collaboration includes Mr. Misrach’s haunting photographs of the industrialized landscape of the Mississippi River Corridor that stretches from Baton Rouge to New Orleans—a place that first garnered attention as “Cancer Alley” because of unusually high reports of cancer and other diseases in the area. Ms. Orff’s contribution is an Ecological Atlas, a series of visual narratives or “throughlines.”

Sam Falls creates installations, paintings, photographs and sculptures that examine entropy, perception, time and the artistic process. In recent years, Mr. Falls has focused on the natural processes of decomposition and deterioration, including long-term effects of sunlight and weather as works gradually fade or rust.

Mr. Falls embraces the intersection of the natural, historical and digital. For example, a recent photographic series based on abandoned houses in Joshua Tree conflated photography, re-photography, digital manipulation and installation. His newest sculptures consist of brightly colored, folded sheets of aluminum coated with UV protective finish on the outside, and uncoated on the inside. These will gradually, and unpredictably, change over time.

He has also recently created “photograms” by leaving variously colored sheets of material, covered in objects, outside at his studio in Pomona, California. In “Project Series 49,” Mr. Falls will present a new site-specific installation investigating the complex nature of reality and the mutability of perception.

Allied Against AIDS: Sue Coe's AIDS Portfolio has been drawn from the permanent collection of the Pomona College Museum of Art. Ms. Coe is a painter, visual essayist, illustrator and social critic who through her work served as a “graphic witness” to social injustice.

In 1994, Ms. Coe was invited to visit the AIDS ward at Galveston Hospital in Texas. While there, she met patients in various stages of the disease, recording the ravages of what that year became the leading cause of death for Americans ages 25 to 44.

Ms. Coe’s stay, part of an initiative by the hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases to spread AIDS awareness, yielded seven line etchings and three photo-etchings. Packaged in a case emblazoned with the red toxic waste symbol, the five individual portraits and five hospital scenes humanize those suffering in the midst of a frightening epidemic. Made with the sitter’s permission, the portraits are accompanied by simple titles and texts and focus on personal events and stories rather than abstract numbers or a social cause. Ms. Coe’s prints counteract political and social stigma by portraying the lived experiences of those most affected.

“Miniature Worlds” is a display of 180 Chinese snuff bottles selected from the museum’s permanent collection. Snuff, fine-ground tobacco that is lightly inhaled into the nostril, originated in the Americas, became popular in Europe by the seventeenth century, and was soon after introduced to China by missionaries and merchants.

The production and use of snuff bottles emerged as a symbol of social status, and bottles were given as gifts to courtiers, family members and acquaintances. The height of production was during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911),  with materials ranging from glass and jade to bamboo and mother-of-pearl. Snuff bottles include several common motifs; for example, different animals or landscapes allude to traditional tales or symbolize a variety of good tidings or wishes.

Each of the above exhibits is on view Tuesday, September 2 through December 19, with a collective opening reception set for Saturday, September 6 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Pomona Museum of Art is located at 330 N. College Ave. in Claremont.  For information, call (909) 621-8283 or visit museuminfo@pomona.edu.

—Sarah Torribio


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