The moment is finally upon us! Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s re-design of the museum building for the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (NEHMA) in Logan, Utah is now open. NEHMA celebrated its grand re-opening last weekend, and our architects were honored to be in attendance. It was an incredible night filled with live music, gallery talks, fantastic artwork, great company and a tour of the museum architecture, of course! The current exhibit, Collecting on the Edge: Part 1 is on display now through December 15, and we must say – it is extraordinary. Collecting on the Edge: Part 2 will be showing next year January 17 through May 4. Collecting on the Edge features the work of 172 artists west of the Mississippi River since 1920.
Utah State University was able to originally construct NEHMA in 1982, through a generous donation made by Nora Eccles Treadwell Harrison. Over the past three decades, NEHMA has developed a one-of-a kind collection of modern artworks from the American West – works that have been largely overlooked in the mainstream art history narrative. George Wanlass, the great-nephew of Harrison, has been instrumental in developing this amazing design collection. His eye for artistic significance is impeccable – looking not at the monetary value of a piece, but instead its inherent quality and the context of its creation. Educated on the history of modern Europe, Wanlass’ understanding reflects the evolution of contemporary culture. This understanding promotes his skill in deciphering the best works of art, many of which he has shared with the museum, with a focus on collecting significant pieces that he believes will either soon disappear, or become very costly. Wanlass loves researching, traveling, and meeting with collectors and artists in pursuit of obtaining these works for NEHMA.
The list of incredible artists showcased in this exhibit is extensive, but a small taste has been curated for your enjoyment below. Can’t make it to the museum for an in-person visit? A new book published by the museum, aptly named, Collecting on the Edge, is available for purchase through the University Press of Colorado & Utah State University Press and Amazon. We do hope you get the chance to witness this captivating exhibit! Feel free to contact us with any museum design inquires. We love being part of designing sustainable, beautiful architecture for the arts and cultural community!
Hilaire Hiler was a pioneer in the study of the effect of color on the human psyche. Parabolic Orange to Leaf Green draws upon Hiler’s creation of a thirty-step color wheel in response to Isaac Newton’s seven-color wheel. His book, Harmony and Pigment, continues to be a significant foundational text today.
Ruth Asawa was a Japanese Amercian who lived in internment during most of the duration of World War II. Her work in looped wire was inspired by a trip to Toluca, Mexico in 1946, where she witnessed indigenous people creating wire baskets. Untitled (S.304) is a six-lobed hanging twenty-one feet long sculpture. It was handwoven from one continuous line of brass wire.
Fourth Lagoon Module showcases the Harrison’s ideation of transforming land into a functional and sustainable work of art. Through mechanical drawings and overlaid text, this piece addresses biodiversity and sustainability by providing a response for the rehabilitation of the environment through ecological work.