Pomp up the Jam: Splendor, Pageantry, and Performance in Art
Lawrence, KS, June 6, 2011 – A fantastical print of Emperor Maxmilian I’s triumphal chariot, a larger-than-life photograph of Chairman Mao’s limousine tire, a mesmerizing yam mask from Papua New Guinea, and a glittering embroidered parasol from the Philippines. All these and more combine to form Pomp up the Jam: Splendor, Pageantry, and Performance in Art, a sparkling and diverse study in parades, processions, and ceremonies throughout history that will be on view June 11-September 4 on the Conversation Wall of the Spencer’s 20/21 Gallery. As with all SMA exhibitions, admission is free and open to the public.
Drawn entirely from the Museum’s permanent collection, Pomp up the Jam was organized by the Spencer Museum of Art’s 2010-2011 student interns, who began work on the installation last fall. The collective effort included interns in all the curatorial areas, collections, education, and graphic design: Denise Giannino, Jordan Jacobson, Chassica Kirchhoff, Meredith Moore, Ellen Raimond, Sarah C. Schroeder, Natalie Svacina, and Amanda Wright.
From 16th-century German armor to 21st-century American sculpture, almost every medium is featured in this exhibition that aims to evoke discussions about the meaning of rites and rituals in different countries around the world. The installation explores both performers and audiences through captivating images and objects displaying wealth, power, strength, victory, and pride from parades, processions, and other ceremonies spanning a period of more than 500 years.
“Parades occur so frequently in Lawrence that they are almost a local institution,” says Meredith Moore, a Marion, Kansas, graduate student in art history who served as the Museum’s collections intern. “Lawrence is a town that loves spectacle, so, we've brought together a wildly diverse group of spectacular objects, spanning a period of over 500 years, all of them in some way exploring (or exploiting) our fondness for elaborate displays of wealth, power, strength, victory, or heartfelt pride.”
Several of the objects are being displayed to the public for the first time. “We are pleased that we have been able to include many objects that have been languishing in storage for decades,” Moore says. “Newer acquisitions, like two works by the popular contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley, will be displayed alongside rarely seen works from the Spencer’s permanent collection and the Spooner collection of the arts of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania.”