After a cozy winter break, we’re back to the hustle and bustle of another academic semester. Over the next few months, Amherst presents a plethora of performances, exhibitions, gallery talks and more.

This month’s offerings include concerts by thesis students and visiting musicians, an “electric” theater performance, a chance to choose an original artwork for the Mead’s collection, and multiple exhibition openings celebrating student, alumni and visiting artists.

Concerts & Performances

  Electric Dream
Denzel Wood ’18 presents The Electric Dream, Feb. 8–10. 

This month, seven students present senior theses in performance. On Friday, Feb. 2, Dan Langa ’18 presents an original film score composed and performed live to the 1927 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. On Saturday, Feb. 3, Gabriela Smith-Rosario ’18 and Minato Sakamoto ’18 conduct their original compositions La Isla de Esperanza (The Island of Hope) and Chinese Railway. On Friday, Feb. 9, Michael Dwyer ’18 presents Coalescence, a five-song set of original music, followed by Keepsake: A Sentimental Recollection, performed by Patrick Williams ’18. Finally, on Saturday, Feb. 10, Caleb Brooks ’18 presents a new chamber opera, A Sleep of Prisoners, followed by a performance by Jerry Navarro ’18. All performances take place at 7 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center.

Theater and Dance kicks off its Spring 2018 season with The Electric Dream, an honors thesis in playwriting and directing by Denzel Wood ’18. Performances of this original play, about a new digital world where people can upload or stream their minds, take place Thursday, Feb.  8, through Saturday, Feb. 10, from 8 to 10 p.m. in Holden Experimental Theater. Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended; call the box office at 413-542-2277.

Music at Amherst presents a concert by International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)—an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced—on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. Tickets are required and can be purchased at amherst.universitytickets.com. Free student rush tickets are available beginning at 7 p.m. in the Arms Music Center lobby.

Visiting Artist-in-Residence Sonya Clark ’89 and Darryl Harper ’90, the Joseph and Grace Valentine Visiting Professor of Music, present The Hair Bow Anthems on Tuesday, Feb. 20, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Mead Art Museum. Part of the ongoing Embodied Knowledge Colloquium—which explores the ways artists use their bodies to imbue their work with meaning—the program begins with a performance by jazz violinist Regina Carter, followed by a conversation led by Clark and Harper.

Last but not least, the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble presents their annual McBride Commission Concert on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center.

Exhibition Openings 

   Video still by Janne Höltermann, courtesy of the artist. On view Feb. 5–March 2.
 Video still by Janne Höltermann, courtesy of the artist. On view in the Eli Marsh Gallery Feb. 5–March 2.

Works by Amherst students that center Asian American experiences and narratives take center stage in the exhibition Identities Unseen, organized by Ann Guo ’20. The exhibition opens Thursday, Feb. 1, with a celebratory reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Keefe Campus Center, and remains on view through Monday, March 19.

Visiting Artist Janne Höltermann presents Trajectories, an exhibition of video installations that explore how our embodied sense shapes our perception of physical environments. The exhibition opens Monday, Feb. 5, in the Eli Marsh Gallery, 105 Fayerweather Hall, and remains on view through Friday, March 2. Join Höltermann for an opening lecture and reception on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall, 115 Fayerweather Hall.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, the Mead Art Museum opens three new exhibitions that remain on view through Sunday, July 1.

  • HOUSE: Selections from the Collection of John and Sue Wieland features interpretations of the house in various mediums by international artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Olafur Eliasson, Cindy Sherman and Ai Weiwei.
  • Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art Through the Ages includes works that examine the ways in which women have been depicted or represented themselves across media, centuries and the globe.
  • New Publics: Art for a Modern India, 1960s–90s showcases drawings, paintings and sculpture that complicate the recent history of art from India.

Celebrate all three exhibitions during an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mead. The opening is preceded by a talk with Mead Director David E. Little and John Wieland ’58 at 5 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium.

Literary Amherst, an exhibition celebrating Amherst College’s literary past and present, opens Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Mezzanine Gallery on the second floor of Frost Library. Held in conjunction with LitFest 2018, the College’s third annual literary festival, the exhibition remains on view through Monday, March 5.

Visiting Artist-in-Residence Sonya Clark ’89 presents Unraveling, a performance exhibition in which she and other participants slowly unravel a Confederate flag, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Mead Art Museum. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, Clark gives a talk about the exhibition at 4:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. All are invited to join Clark after the talk to contribute to the flag’s unraveling from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Mead.

Finally, Constructing a New World: Soviet Russia in the 1920s–30s opens on Monday, Feb. 26, in the Russian Center Art Gallery, located in the Amherst Center for Russian Culture on the second floor of Webster Hall. Organized by Alla Rosenfeld, curator of Russian and European art at the Mead, the exhibition remains on view through Friday, June 1.

Gallery Talks

Spring in Priluki (Oskar Rabin, 1967). Oskar Rabin, Spring in Priluki, 1967. On view in the Russian Center Art Gallery through Feb. 11.

Mead curator Alla Rosenfeld delivers a gallery talk in conjunction with the exhibition Varieties of Nonconformism: Unofficial Art from the Soviet Union, on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at noon in the Russian Center Art Gallery, located in the Amherst Center for Russian Culture on the second floor of Webster Hall. The exhibition, which remains on view through Sunday, Feb. 11, showcases works produced by the leading members of the Soviet nonconformist art movement.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., all self-identified women are invited to a “Galentine’s Day” breakfast at the Mead Art Museum. Women who make up the Mead’s curatorial, education and programming departments give brief gallery talks in conjunction with the exhibition Fragmented Identities: The Gendered Roles of Women in Art Through the Ages. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., cast your vote to help select a new acquisition for the Mead. This special event begins with short presentations by students in the Interterm course “Collecting 101: Acquiring Art for the Mead,” followed by an audience vote and the announcement of the winning artwork.  

Learn more about the works on view in the Mead exhibition HOUSE: Selections from the Collection of John and Sue Wieland, during a gallery talk with Mead Director David E. Little on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at noon in the Mead Art Museum.

Fiction Readings

Hermione Hoby and Joseph Scapellato Hermione Hoby (left) reads Feb. 26, and Joseph Scapellato (right) reads Feb. 13.

Creative Writing at Amherst hosts two readings this month, both at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books (8 Main Street, Downtown Amherst). The first is Tuesday, Feb. 13, with Joseph Scapellato, author of the story collection Big Lonesome and the forthcoming novel The Made-Up Man. The second takes place Monday, Feb. 26, with Hermione Hoby, author of Neon in Daylight. Both events are followed by receptions with refreshments.