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June 8 – August 4, 2018
USF Contemporary Art Museum

Detail of Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke Chair and Ottoman, 1986–88. Published by Graphicstudio, University of South Florida Collection. Photo: Don Fuller

Restricted displays seldom seen but important works from the permanent collection of the USF Contemporary Art Museum, including paintings, prints, video, sculptures, installations, and archival material by leading artists such as Claes Oldenburg, John Cage, Lynda Benglis, Mernet Larsen, Burt Barr, Robert Stackhouse, and many others. All the works are restricted in the environments and contexts in which they can be displayed and this exhibition offers not only the opportunity to view these “hidden gems,” but a discussion of their care and the competing pressures of best museum practices.

At the heart of museum work is the desire to both preserve and present our cultural heritage, but it can be a complex process to balance the needs of conservation, access, education, and museum resources. Like most museums, USFCAM shows only a portion of its more than 5,000 object collection at any one time. A variety of factors influence when and where objects are shown. With limited gallery space, USFCAM exhibits some collection works in public spaces on campus and with our corporate partners, but these venues pose environmental and security concerns. Restricted allows these objects to be shown in an environment that accommodates the demands of preservation and access.

Some of USFCAM’s most interesting works are too big, vulnerable, valuable or complicated to show outside of our large, monitored galleries. Among these is Teresita Fernández’s Mirror (Background), 2010, composed of two layers of polished precision-cut stainless steel with screen printing. Apart from its large size, its surfaces are very delicate and could be marred by inadvertent contact with viewers or objects, so it must be placed in a very secure area.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke Chair and Ottoman, 1986-88, requires placement on a raised plinth to protect the vulnerable, and very valuable, work from visitors eager to sit in it.

Small and fragile objects require extra protection and have restrictions on the environments in which they can be displayed. These include Robert Rauschenberg’s Patch (Tracks), 1976, a casting of dirt and resin, and Realm (Tracks), 1976, a clay casting; both are always displayed within specially made vitrines.

Light damages most works of art, but some materials are particularly vulnerable. Works on paper, especially those with color inks, are susceptible to fading and color shifts in both the paper substrate and surface printing. Gladys Nilsson’s watercolor on paper A Artystick Extravaganza, 1977, has remained vibrant due to being stored in the dark for many years, and is protected at USFCAM by using UV filtering Plexiglas in the frame and displaying at low light levels.

When presenting works with potentially challenging content, museum staff carefully consider the context in which they will be shown. Works depicting nudes, such as Mike Glier’s Carol Calling, 1983, or Jacob Landau’s Urbanology, 1969, are not generally shown in public settings or on campus, considering the varied backgrounds and sensibilities of visitors, students, and staff.

Some USF Collection holdings are kept for our students, faculty and researchers to study and can be viewed by appointment. These objects are related to an artist’s production, but are not considered part of the artist’s recognized catalogue of work. Among these are prints by Andy Warhol, Purple Cows (Stamped Indelibly), 1967, and $1, 1982, created as extras out of the editions and gifted to USF by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. for research and educational purposes only.

This exhibition was team curated by USFCAM and IRA staff, with participants advocating for the restricted work in the USF Collection that they would most like our visitors to see, and organized by USFCAM.



Exhibition Brochure pdf
Press Release pdf


USFCAM to showcase hidden gems in new exhibition, By Samantha Moffett. June 13, 2018, USF Oracle.