Monday, June 10, 2013

The mystique of the Wexner Center for the Arts

[Image: 640px-OSU_Wexner_Center.JPG]

The mystique of the Wexner Center for the Arts

By Mei Wong
The Daily Magi
August 30, 2046

The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, screenings, performances, artist residencies, and educational programs, the Wexner Center acts as a forum where established and emerging artists can test ideas and where diverse audiences can participate in cultural experiences that enhance understanding of the art of our time. In its programs, the Wexner Center balances a commitment to experimentation with a commitment to traditions of innovation and affirms the university’s mission of education, research, and community service. The Wexner Center opened in November 1989, named in honor of the father of Limited Brands founder Leslie Wexner, who was a major donor to the Center.

The Wexner Center is a lab and public gallery, but not a museum, as it does not collect art. However, when the Center was constructed, it replaced the University Gallery of Fine Arts, and assumed possession and stewardship of the University Gallery's permanent collection of roughly 3,000 art works. The collection serves a secondary role in the Center's programs in the visual, media and performing arts While it is made available to University students and scholars for study, and occasionally drawn upon for exhibitions at the center or elsewhere, it is largely dormant.likely play at the Shoe."

The Wexner Center's building was designed by architects Peter Eisenman of New York and the late Richard Trott of Columbus with landscape architect Laurie Olin of Philadelphia. The Wexner Center was the first major public building to be designed by Eisenman, previously known primarily as a teacher and theorist. He has gone on to design and build a number of other major projects including the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The design includes a large, white metal grid meant to suggest scaffolding, to give the building a sense of incompleteness in tune with the architect's deconstructivist tastes. Eisenman also took note of the mismatched street grids of the OSU campus and the city of Columbus, which vary by 12.25 degrees, and designed the Wexner Center to alternate which grids it followed. The result was a building of sometimes questionable functionality, but admitted architectural interest.

Included in the Wexner Center space are a film and video theater, a performance space, a film and video post production studio, a bookstore, café, and 12,000 square feet (1,100 m²) of galleries. In November 2005, the Wexner Center reopened after a three-year renovation. The renovation originally enlisted the help of a local firm, then switched to Arup. In addition to the building envelope, the scope of renovation includes HVAC, lighting, electrical, plumbing, fire protection systems. The renovation works had a minimum impact on the original architectural design while improving environmental, daylight and climate control.

With the restoration of the center as a whole, the bookstore, film and video theater, and café sections were all revamped, equipment and layout-wise. Normal admission price for the galleries is $5, although students get in free and there are a number of ways to get a discount. Thursday evenings and the first Sunday of every month are free to everyone.

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