Ever since its opening in 1996, the Jundt Art Museum has been a distinctive landmark on Gonzaga’s campus with its bright copper tower and eclectic collection of sculptures. The museum also houses incredible treasures within, and it’s current exhibit holds a special place in the heart of Jundt Art Museum Director and Curator Paul Manoguerra.
Manoguerra is the piece that ties the whole exhibit together, since all the art in the exhibit has been bought together in his tenure. The Seven Years of Acquisitions Exhibit is a celebration of a collection of over 100 different works of art, ranging from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol. All the works of art have been added in the last 7 and a half years, from 2013 to 2020.
“Any good university museum is a collecting museum, an academic museum is a collecting museum is one that's growing so it's a celebration of that and then many of the objects either have donors or are bought by the university so it’s a celebration of what is in the collection,” said Manoguerra.
At the very start of the exhibit, when you walk through the doors, you are swept away from Spokane to the Basilica of San Francisco d’Assissi. This painting, by American impressionist John Ferguson Weir, was selected by Manoguerra to welcome visitors to the gallery.
The exhibit stretches from the 18th century to contemporary times, and Manoguerra has two specific pieces that stand out to him. The first is the Weir painting, and the second is an Ansel Adams photograph. Manoguerra said the museum originally displayed pictures Ansel Adams took of the Japanese American internment camps in Manzanar California, and the gallery’s decision to get an Adams came from hosting that exhibit.
“We had an exhibition that I think was about 80 of Ansel Adams Manzanar photographs and so at this point it just we didn't have one in our collection so it made sense to try and find one,” Manoguerra said.
One of the strengths of the exhibit is it’s connection to the local Spokane community. A Great Depression program setting up a community Arts Center brought many artists to Spokane from the 1938 to 1942, and some of their works can be seen on display here.
Another one of the Seven Years of Acquisitions’ strengths is its diversity. There are so many options to chose from, and an incredible variety of styles and
COVID-19 has forced Manoguerra and the rest of the Jundt Art Gallery staff to adapt to changing circumstances. Normally, the opening of the exhibit would be cause for great celebration, but COVID-19 has made the Seven Years of Acquisitions exhibit more subdued. The Jundt Art Gallery is usually open to members of the public, but not anymore.
“Normally, we have between 20 and 25,000 visitors to the museum a year, and now obviously we don’t,” Manoguerra said.
“The locked museum is only opened by appointed to the Gonzaga community so that's current students faculty and staff that's what we're allowed based on Gonzaga's visitor policy right now. For campus as a whole and so you call in advance and make an appointment for a group from your household up to five people,” Manoguerra said.
Moving on from the exhibit, Manoguerra also noted that Jundt has renovated their Chancellors Room, which is most famous for the massive red glass chandelier made by Dale Chihuly, one of the world’s best know glass work artists. He is probably best known for his museum outside the Space Needle, the Chihuly Glass Gardens.
Jundt also has a new display case for 15 Chahouli glass works that were in storage at Gonzaga, which shows the incredible depth of displays that the Jundt Art Museum has. Manoguerra encouraged Gonzaga students to come down to check it out.
“Take advantage of being in an academic community and having an Art Museum on campus,” said Manoguerra.
Nate Remcho, a junior from Corvallis Oregon, agreed with Manoguerra after hearing about the exhibit.
“I definitely plan on going,” said Remcho. “I plan on making an appointment this week.”