Johns to Speak in Conjunction with WSU Museum of Art Exhibition

PULLMAN, Wash. — Barbara Johns, art historian and former chief curator of
the Tacoma Art Museum, will present a lecture, “Shoot for the Moon,”
Thursday, Sept. 14, at Washington State University. The 7:30 p.m. talk is
planned for the Fine Arts Auditorium.

Johns will speak in conjunction with the WSU Museum of Art exhibition,
“Morris Graves: Instruments for a New Navigation,” on display at the museum
through Oct.15. An opening reception for the Morris Graves’ exhibition and
the ongoing exhibition, “The American Vision: A Collection Survey,” will be
held in the Fine Arts Center atrium from 6-7:30 p.m.

According to Johns, Morris Graves’ sculptures from 1963-99 have been
described as “a unique body of work, idiosyncratic within the artist’s own
production and at variance with trends of the time.”

Looking for context within the work of Graves and others, Johns will discuss
the parallel forms and intention in Graves’ iconic imagery in painting, his
exploration of three-dimensional form in architectural spaces, and
contemporary drawing and sculpture.

As an art historian, Johns is Americanist, specializing in paintings of the
modern period. She received a master’s of fine arts degree in art history from
San Diego State University, concentrating on the work of Morris Graves, and
she is presently working on a doctorate in art history at the University of

Throughout much of her professional career, Johns has specialized in
American and Northwest art. She was chief curator at the Tacoma Art Museum
from 1991 until this year, also serving as acting director in 1992 and 1999. The
major exhibitions she curated while at TAM include “Landscape in America
1850-1890,” 1997; “Garden of Delights,” 1995; and “Jet Dreams: The Fifties in
the Northwest,” 1995. During the 1980s she held various curator positions at
the Seattle Art Museum, specializing primarily in Northwest modern art. She
also managed the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art
Northwest Asian American Arts Project, and coordinated their Northwest Oral
History Project.

WSU is the only eastern Washington venue to host the Morris Graves
exhibition. Organized through the Schmidt-Bingham Gallery in New York, the
exhibition presents previously unexhibited work from the artist’s private
collection and from the collections of the Bank of America, the University of
Oregon and the Tacoma Art Museum. The concurrent exhibit, “The American
Vision: A Collection Survey,” is an exhibition featuring highlights from WSU’s
permanent collection and works from the collections of the Washington Art

The Museum of Art is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 10
a.m.-9 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m., with extended hours for
football Saturdays and some other special events. All events are free and open
to the public, and the gallery is wheelchair accessible.

Parking permits for weekday visitors may be purchased at the Cougar Depot at
Davis Way (Hwy. 270) and State Street, or at WSU Parking Services on Wilson
Road, directly uphill from the Fine Arts Center. On weekday evenings, parking
is available in the Fine Arts parking structure, off Stadium Way at Grimes Way,
for an hourly fee. Weekend parking is free. Call 509/335-1910 for more

Funding for museum exhibitions and programs is provided by Washington
State University, the Friends of the Museum of Art and private donors. Special
support for the Morris Graves exhibit has been provided by the WSU Visual,
Performing and Literary Arts Committee as part of its 2000-01 series, “Future
Visions: Art as a Way of Looking at the Future.” Additional support has been
provided by Papa John’s Pizza, the Pullman Community
Foundation/Foundation Northwest, the Pullman Kiwanis Club, Tri-State
Distributors, the U.S. West Foundation, the Washington Mutual Foundation,
VPLAC, the Washington State Arts Commission and private donors.