…we rely on the arts and humanities to broaden our views and remind us of the truths that connect us.
I wish to personally congratulate the UW Art Department Faculty on the 2016 Quadrennial Exhibition at the Chazen Museum of Art and urge you all to see the extraordinary accomplishments of our faculty and emerita.
Exhibitions of art serve a multitude of functions. They are aggregates of competing forces, sometimes market driven, sometimes in service of a personal vision, sometimes driven by curators, collectors, or others whose agendas may or may not be readily identifiable. The agenda of this exhibition is clear and transparent. This exhibition is driven by generosity. It is a gift. Every four years, through the dedication and labor of the staff of the Chazen Museum of Art and of the art department, and the largesse of both, a major exhibition of work by the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Art Department is mounted. It is a mammoth undertaking done without curatorial intervention. It is democratic in the best sense of the word: self-regulated and locally sourced. It is given to the public, to the state, and beyond without expectation, as a gesture of generosity and as an extension of the Wisconsin Idea, as a breathtaking example of the collected research of an entire faculty of one department, some past, mostly present, all connected by a commitment to extending their creative understanding of the universe through making and through teaching.
Perhaps the works in this exhibition are best thought of as the extension of art-lives. They reverberate in our hearts and minds; they are at once pedagogic and philosophic, poetic and literate, provocative and generous. The truth of this exhibition is that, artists who teach, open a door to creativity and to the dream of a creative, engaged, and thoughtful life for their students, for the public, and for the future of the arts as inseparable from education and citizenship.
Chair, Art Department