di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art
5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559 - United States
Located in scenic Napa Valley, di Rosa engages you in the connective power of art + nature through its permanent collection of contemporary Northern California art in two spacious galleries and 217 inspiring acres of outdoor sculptures and vineyards.
AUGUST 20 - OCTOBER 31, 2021
fort phooey: wiley in the studio
Step inside the studio of the late William T. Wiley. Fort Phooey: Wiley in the Studio recreates the sights and sounds of his iconic studio—a meeting place for generations of Bay Area artists—combining over fifty original works from di Rosa’s collection with archival objects on loan from the artist’s estate. The “Fort Phooey” part of the exhibition title is taken from a little-known work in the di Rosa collection titled “Fort Phooey Mandala.” Wiley created the mandala as a meditative exercise in his studio, and he also referred to his studio as “Fort Phooey.” Wiley’s Marin County studio was perhaps his greatest work of art. Densely layered with words, images and objects that meandered into his work and back out again, it was nothing less than an immersive assemblage. “Being in the studio was like entering into a Wiley artwork,” explains curator Kate Eilertsen. “The effect could be dizzying. Every surface was covered with scrawled wordplay, found objects and other elements of his distinctive visual vocabulary.” Inviting visitors into Wiley’s studio, the exhibition draws attention to the legacy of his artistic practice. “Wiley’s studio practice—rooted in Zen mysticism and an ethos of open-ended play—was imitated by artists ranging from Bruce Nauman to Deborah Butterfield,” states Eilertsen. “To understand his profound impact, it is necessary to grapple with the legacy of his practice as well as the work itself.” The exhibition is both immersive and participatory, and will include such details as Wiley’s final painting he was working on at the time of his death earlier this year; his workbench; photographs of him with friends and family; works by artists who influenced Wiley’s work including Wally Hedrick; musical instruments he encouraged visitors to play when they visited; National Public Radio (NPR) live via radio; and objects such as chalkboards and dunce caps that often appeared in his two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. Visitors will be prompted to create their own artworks and add them to a community wall inside the exhibition space.
APRIL 17, 2021
the incorrect museum: vignettes from the di rosa collection
Rene di Rosa viewed his collection of more than 1600 objects, accumulated over five decades from the 1960s until his death in 2010, as a sort of “incorrect museum.” In 1997, when the preserve opened its doors to the public, di Rosa memorialized the occasion in verse, penning a “singalong for an incorrect museum” which was distributed to early visitors: “Come on out and let go/to return again while getting to know/that here the art invites a titter/from the free admitter/That here art is a healthy remedy/with a laugh at rascality not posing as ponderosity.” di Rosa’s vision of an “incorrect museum” is a potent concept, especially today as museums across the world reassess their institutional histories, missions and values. What, exactly, made the di Rosa an “incorrect museum” in the eyes of its founder? The collection focused on Bay Area artists—like Bruce Conner, William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson and Roy De Forest, among others—whose work was too colorful, ungainly, humorous and irreverent to be easily interpreted or consumed by art world afficionados. di Rosa also supported local artists—including Peter Voulkos, Jim Melchert, Tom Marioni and Paul Kos—who blurred the line between art and life, creating conceptual works rooted in experience that were not easily bought or sold. We invite you to celebrate the shared “rascality” of these artists. The art and artists of Northern California have too often been overlooked by critics and historians of twentieth century art.
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