August 21 - December 17, 2010

Polk/Wilson galleries

Harold Edgerton, 'Bullet through King,' 1964. Dye transfer print, 9 by 11 inches. Collection of the Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, Promised gift of the Harold and Esther Edgerton Family FoundationA lust for speed holds a critical place in our culture. Travel, Internet connections, sports, photography: These are a few of the arenas in which speed reigns. In the 1994 film Speed (with star-studded cast Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper and Keanu Reeves), the mental and physical aspects of the concept are central: the sharp, on-the-ball thinking of the young cop and the accelerating bus that will explode if it drops below 50 miles per hour. Tension and speed are coefficients in a delicate equation.

Through billowing sails in the 17th century; fragmented depictions of objects in the early 20th century; rounded streamlined silhouettes and vertiginous diagonals in 1920s Art Deco design; and so-called speed lines in comic books, artists have been grappling with how to
visually express this physical phenomenon for centuries. Art on Speed presents the work of 16 contemporary artists hailing from cities around the globe who are all exploring strategies to represent speed. In terms of physics, they exploit concepts of continuous motion, angular momentum, friction plus kinetic and potential energy in their paintings, sculpture, photography and video. Stop-action and open-shutter camera work as well as visual icons and extreme contrasts are some of their artistic methods. Not surprisingly, vehicles figure large in their imagery, as do natural events such as birds in flight.

Shaun Gladwell, 'Double Linework,' 2000, video, courtesy Anna Schwartz GalleryThe definitive artist in this tradition is Harold Edgerton (1903-1990), noted Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor in electrical engineering, who in 1931 coupled the stroboscope with a camera to see speed. His images of milk splashing, of bullets whizzing through apples and playing cards and of athletes in stop-action have become icons of the modern era. His photographs were immediately celebrated and displayed in New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1937. Art on Speed is the occasion to unveil a major gift of 10 Edgerton photographs to the Ulrich collection, generously given by the Harold & Esther Family Foundation, thanks to foundation executor Gus Kayafas. Today's artists remain mesmerized by and grapple with Edgerton’s images. The Ulrich exhibition Art on Speed offers a distinctly 21st century look at how artists internationally confront and confound our desire for and romance with all things fast, faster, fastest.

Art on Speed has been organized by the Ulrich Museum of Art with curatorsquared and generously supported by: Spirit AeroSystems, corporate sponsor of 'Aircraft: The Jet as Art by Jeffrey Milstein'

This exhibition also has been supported by the Finnish Fund for Art Exchange and Integrated Media Group.

FAMILY FUN DAY: Art on Speed
WSU Campus Activities Center Theater and the Ulrich Museum

Like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, do you ever feel the need--the need for speed? Maybe you wondered what moves faster than a speeding bullet? Experience Family Fun Day at the Ulrich, featuring the museum’s newest exhibition Art on Speed. Make and take home your own fast-moving spin art or race-car hat, listen to fast-paced superhero stories, meet and have your picture taken with WSU's own Formula and Baja racing teams. Test your knowledge on how quickly objects depicted in our galleries move. The day kicks off with the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs at 11 a.m. at the Campus Activities Center Theater. Free for WSU Students w/ ID, $2 for WSU faculty/staff, $3 for general public, 50 cents for kids 12 and under. Family Fun Day activities at the Ulrich are from 1-3 p.m. and are free. Sponsored by WSU Student Activities Council Family Committee and the Ulrich Museum.