The envelope, please. … And the Fresno Art Museum’s Council of 100 distinguished woman artist of 2016 is:
Hung Liu, the noted Chinese American artist whose works have been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The opening of Liu’s Fresno exhibition, which leads a new slate of fall shows at the Fresno Art Museum, is my top recommendation in this week’s arts picks.
The event: The Fresno Art Museum introduces six new shows, including Liu’s “Scales of History.”
The draw: Liu, born in Communist China, is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in painting. She studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing before immigrating to the United States in 1984 to attend the University of California, San Diego. As a painter, Liu “challenges the documentary authority of historical Chinese photographs by subjecting them to the more reflective process of painting,” according to the museum.
The significance: Liu “illustrates history, politics, independence, suffering, and above all, the power and meaningfulness of freedom,” says museum director Michele Ellis Pracy. The theme of freedom can be applied to the rest of the new exhibitions, she says, from “Head to Toe: Wearable Art” to “Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964,” created by McLane High School’s ArtVenture Academy students.
Other exhibitions: The lineup features “Art of the Word 2” honoring Juan Felipe Herrera and Gary Soto; “Student Mural Project & A Tribute to FranCisco Vargas”; and “The Making of a Mural,” coordinated by internationally renowned muralist Francisco Letelier and painted by members of the Wall Dogs.
Details: Presentations by curators, artists and lenders begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in the museum’s Bonner Auditorium, 2233 N. 1st St. Opening reception is 6-8 p.m. (members free, nonmembers $15). www.fresnoartmuseum.org, 559-441-4221.
The event: Fresno Grand Opera celebrates its new season with “The Roaring 20s,” a swanky party featuring acclaimed composer Ricky Ian Gordon.
The draw: The party promises to be one of Fresno’s big social events of the year, complete with feathered headbands (and other ’20s garb), Champagne fountains, period cocktails, dinner and dancing. (“We’ll be recreating a 1920s speakeasy,” says opera general director Matthew Buckman.) Gordon and soprano Carrie Hennessey will give a cabaret performance featuring a lineup of his songs.
Details: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, Frank’s Place, 1432 Fulton St. www.fresnograndopera.org, 559-442-5699. $150.
The event: Vladimir Horowitz’s piano is the star of a Fresno City College concert.
The draw: The piano, lent by Steinway & Sons, is a world traveler, having been used by Horowitz (one of the great pianists of the 20th century) during the past four years of his touring career. Instructor Brandon Bascom will lead a lecture and recital in an event that includes a chance for audience members to play the piano.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, Fresno City College Old Administration Building Auditorium. Admission is free; a collection will be taken to benefit the All-Steinway School Initiative. www.fresnocitycollege.edu.