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Art time

Art time

The de Saisset at 60

By Lindsey Kouvaris ’02

Sea of Time by Lynn Powers. View full image. Courtesy of The Broback Family Collection
The de Saisset Museum launches Creative in Common, the first exhibition in its yearlong celebration of 60 years on the Mission campus.

Family. Such a powerful word with so many meanings. For some, the notion of family is comforting, filled with warm memories of shared meals, holiday celebrations, and the knowledge that love, laughter, and support are only an arm’s length away. For others, associations may be different and perhaps less positive. Family could mean shared bloodlines—siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles—or it could be close friends, godparents, or something else entirely. Perhaps family is a combination of things, changing and growing as life progresses.

A search for the word family in the dictionary yields multiple definitions—a testament to the complexity of the term but also an acknowledgement of its flexibility. Though these definitions may only scratch the surface of the myriad ways in which family can be defined, they are nonetheless connected. At its root, family is linked by something shared—mutual interests, common characteristics, shared beliefs.

Creative in Common explores family by bringing together work by artists who share a familial connection—partner to partner, parent to child. The ten artists represented in the show are linked not only through their relationships, but through their shared commitment to art making. Each artist pursues his or her own creative work. The voice of each artist’s partner, parent, or child serves most often as a sounding board, or a point of support or inspiration rather than collaboration. Though sometimes working in similar mediums, the pieces created by these individuals are set apart from one another stylistically, aesthetically, and thematically.

By taking family as its central theme, Creative in Common seeks to open a dialogue. It invites visitors to reflect on their own experiences and associations, and to respond to the questions: what does family mean to you?

The exhibition is mounted in preparation for the de Saisset Museum’s 60th anniversary in 2015. Rooted in the permanent collection, at least one artist from each familial group is represented in the museum’s holdings. Through this connection, the exhibition celebrates the growth in the museum’s collection since its founding gift in 1955. In addition, Creative in Common speaks to the importance of family within the museum’s organizational history. It was through a bequest from the de Saisset family that the museum first opened its doors nearly six decades ago and began developing the kind of compelling programming that continues today.

For exhibition information, directions, upcoming events, and more, visit the de Saisset website.

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