From now until Dec. 8 the Spagnuolo Gallery, nestled within the Walsh Memorial building, will boast a unique collection of works of various pop artists, including Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg and Edward Ruscha in its new exhibition, “Pop Art Prints: Selections from the Condron Collection.”
Each year, the gallery puts on about three exhibitions, all featuring the works of local artists. A special exhibition showcasing pieces done by students of the graduating class is presented at the end of the year. Customarily, the Spagnuolo Gallery presents two artists in the fall and one in the spring; a recent show highlighted the work of Charles Ritchie. This season, however, the works of many different artists are being displayed, although all the art is stylistically similar. Carolanne Bonanno, assistant to the gallery director, is the curator for the pop art exhibition.
“This exhibition is a little bit unusual because usually what we do is … have local working artists come by and exhibit their work here,” Bonanno said.
This exhibition is also unique because it was made possible due to loans from private collectors Christopher and Margaret Condron. In an email, Christopher Condron, whose son and daughter-in-law both went to Georgetown, stated this is the first time they have publicly exhibited their collection, a decision made after the Condrons were asked by the Spagnuolos to do so. In an email, Margaret Condron expressed her excitement about the student presence at the opening of the art show on Saturday. “It was wonderful on Saturday to see the students in the gallery,” she wrote.
Some of the student presence was due in large part to the efforts of faculty in the art and art history department who encouraged students to come to the exhibition. Ashley Saucedo (COL ’14) has been to multiple exhibitions at the gallery after being notified by the professor in her “Art of the Book” class.
“Normally, whenever there is an art exhibit, he tells us about it. I wouldn’t have known about it if he hadn’t told me,” Saucedo said. There were even students from American University who attended the opening because professors there recommended their students go.
The works exhibited are very different, even within the pop art genre.
“I liked that each piece was individual and stood out on its own,” said Adda Gould, a student at American University and an attendee of the opening. Instead of simply displaying works that tend to be representative of the group as a whole, such as the works of Andy Warhol, the exhibition also included pieces covering a more diverse set of styles. There were more abstract pieces with muted colors, as well as some that exclusively depicted words.
However, the Warhol pieces were a familiar print of Marilyn Monroe, as well as an interesting print of Jackie Kennedy with a quality similar to that of a newspaper photo.
Many of the other works are less similar to classic American pop art of Lichtenstein and Warhol. Alex Katz’s Good Afternoon portrays a person in a canoe with fairly muted colors, a far cry from the garishly bright Warhol prints.
The exhibition focuses not only on displaying the art but also on identifying the eclectic techniques used to create the pieces. In order to compare various printmaking processes, Bonnano said she tried to include different types of prints.
“There are even different styles working within the same technique. One lithograph may look one way, and another one might look a different way. My hope was that even if you didn’t know a lot technically going in [to the exhibit], you could at least visually compare them [the works],” she said.
Some students were bothered by the small size of the gallery because it limited the number of pieces that could be presented.
“It was smaller than I expected. When I first got in there, I was like, ‘This is it?’” Denise Recinos (COL ’14) said.
Georgetown resident Calista Tavallili stated that she most likely would not come to another exhibition unless it was larger.
Other attendees did not see the size of the gallery as a drawback.
“It was small, but I liked how small it was,” American University student Katie Andrews said. Gould said that the smaller space allowed the show to be cozier and more intimate.
In the future, the quaint gallery hopes to grow and draw more students to its exhibitions. Many of the students who go to the gallery stop by only on the way to class or to their dorm.
“We are hoping for a larger gallery space at some point, so I do hope that in putting on exhibitions, we can try to increase our public presence and get people more aware of what we do here,” Bonnano said. “Hopefully [we can] get … more students involved, get them interested in the arts.”
Many of the students at the opening had not been there before, although some did say that they were aware of the gallery’s existence.
“It was interesting, because I always pass Walsh and I always have seen the room, but I never knew what it was. I went inside and I was surprised,” Yury Amaya (COL ’14) said.