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  • an aerial view of the new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art on the UC Davis campus
    Photo credit
    Photograph by Iwan Baan, courtesy of SO—IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
    Photo caption
    An aerial view of the museum, located on the southern end of the UC Davis campus, near the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Roy De Forest's 1992 Painter of the Rainforest, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Phil Bond. © Estate of Roy De Forest/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    Photo caption
    Out Our Way, the largest of the inaugural exhibits, presents 240 works, including Roy De Forest's Painter of the Rainforest, 1992.
  • under the grand canopy outside the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in Davis, picture
    Photo credit
    Photograph by Iwan Baan, courtesy of SO—IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
    Photo caption
    The museum's grand canopy casts alternating bands of light and shade beneath it. Inside, the museum boasts 10,000 square feet of gallery space.

Great art in Davis? Yep, and it now has a terrific new showcase.

The light-filled Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art opened November 13 on the campus of the University of California, Davis. The strikingly modern building serves as a bold reminder that this ag university largely known by the public for its winemaking program has also been a top school for visual arts since 1959, when the first in a series of esteemed artists like Roy De Forest and Wayne Thiebaud were hired as faculty.

Cloaked in a bold, white metal canopy that casts alternating bands of light and shade, the museum's three separate pavilions contain 10,000 square feet of formal galleries, a large plaza, and space for classrooms and operations. Curved exterior walls fronting the plaza are made of low-reflective glass, erasing the line between indoors and out.

Wayne Thiebaud's 1961 painting Cup of Coffee, picture
Photo credit
Photo: Ben Blackwell. © Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA, New York
Photo caption
Wayne Thiebaud, Cup of Coffee, 1961.

Out Our Way, the largest of the inaugural exhibits, gives a good overview of the art department's legacy and its first-generation faculty. Among the 240 works presented are Thiebaud's 1961 painting Cup of Coffee and Neri's sculpture Standing Figure. Also on view are the Roland Petersen painting Picnic and a score of ceramic artist Robert Arneson's funky and scatological takes on toilets and urinals. The exhibit runs until March 26.

Other inaugural exhibits include San Francisco artist Chris Sollars's video installation Hoof & Foot: A Field Study, and a participatory installation by Mexico City artist Pia Camil that invites the public to exchange "objects of desire."

The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is located on the southern end of campus, near the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. It is open every day but Monday, and admission is free.