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The return of the Barrick 

A half-year hibernation and a Las Vegas Art Museum partnership later, UNLV’S museum is now at its best

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Last January, UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum shut its doors to the public to undergo renovation. After seven months, the museum is once again planning to attract students, locals, and visitors alike to its newly featured exhibition, “Into the Light,” which will be on display for its reopening on Sept. 19.

The museum has come together in partnership with the Las Vegas Art Museum, which closed in February 2009. The former LVAM collection will be added to the Marjorie Barrick Museum, alongside the already extensive collection of Pre-Columbian and ethnographic art on display.

The grand reopening’s reception offered art enthusiasts around UNLV and the valley an exclusive preview exhibition. Nearly 150 guests were expected to be the first to explore the museum’s new interior, which features additional wall space to accommodate the collection.

Tickets to the event sold for $100 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Marjorie Barrick Museum.

Program director, Aurore Giguet, noted the museum will continue to serve the university’s community, while also hosting a number of events and traveling exhibitions. Because the LVAM’s collection included an extensive 200 pieces, the art on display will be rotated in and out of the museum over time.

Judging from its exterior appearance, the Marjorie Barrick Museum looks much like it did before undergoing its renovations. The only indicator of the interior’s changes are hinted in the removal of a portion of the museum’s sign which once included “of natural sciences.”

Inside, it’s a different story. A cleverly designed gallery now sits at the center of the museum, which features a commendable variety of visual artists.

Pieces on display range from gripping graphic designs to popping, silk screen prints such as Phyllis Sloane’s “Woman on Sofa”, which was created in 1980. The print is saturated in radiant reds and fixates on a lounging, seemingly attentive woman. The scattered additions of pastel blues balances the print’s feverish first impression.

Only a few feet away hangs a piece titled “Curtain,” created in 2005 by Cindy Wright. Although created with oil paints, “Curtain” has a certain texture to it that remarkably resembles lace. The perspective appears to be of someone closely peering out through the curtains to an opalescent world.

The collection also features a figurative piece from German artist, Norbert Tadeusz, among many others including the “Nearly Perfeckt Warmask” created by contemporary American artist, William T. Wiley.

“Nearly Perfeckt Warmask” is a highly geometrical piece that has slight imperfections to be discovered by the viewer. Although the piece may appear to be crafted with colored pencils at first glance, Wiley’s uniform brushstrokes can be seen at a closer range.

Marjorie Barrick’s collection has swelled to new artistic proportions since its closure last January. UNLV students are encouraged to drop by for a visit to witness the contemporary, smorgasbord of pieces that make up the museum’s new collection.

Art can be — and always will be —subjective. Yet if one thing is certain — LVAM’s contributions to the Marjorie Barrick Museum will propel it out from the shadows of a nearly seven-month hiatus, to take its place back “into the light” of the university’s community.

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