“Far Out” exhibit reveals lively 1960-75 arts era in northern Nevada

July 8 free opening reception includes music by 1960s Bay-area psychedelic rock band, Sopwith Camel

6/27/2012 - By: Angela Bakker and Claudene Wharton
Artists on campus, circa 1967 Artists, students and faculty pose in the parking lot of the Church Fine Arts Building at the University of Nevada, Reno, circa 1967. Left to right: John Herman, Walter McNamara, Joan Arrizabalaga, Charles Ross, Ken Miller (under the truck), Jim McCormick, Don Kerr, Lucy Nieder, Mary Lou Anthony and Linda Hale. Photo provided by Walter McNamara.

This summer, the University of Nevada, Reno presents "Far Out: The University Art Scene 1960-1975," an art exhibit throughout the University's Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, July 1 - Sept. 9. The exhibit is open to the public, with a free opening reception 3:30 - 6 p.m., July 8, featuring  Sopwith Camel, the 1960s psychedelic rock band that toured with the Rolling Stones, the Who and the Lovin' Spoonful.

A sequel to last summer's "Post-war Bohemians in Northern Nevada," the exhibit by the University Libraries' Special Collections Department highlights the next generation of leading-edge visual artists who flourished in and around the University's art community during a time of experimentation and diversity in cultural expression.

"Far Out" features a wide selection of two- and three-dimensional works and related materials, such as photographs, exhibit catalogs and posters, celebrating the accomplishments of the University art community. It has been co-curated by well-known local artists Jim McCormick, emeritus professor of art at the University, and Walter McNamara, retired director of the Sheppard Fine Art Gallery. Works by McCormick and McNamara are also featured in the exhibit. They recall the area's art community in the 60s and 70s as a lively, tight-knit group.

"We shared studio space, developed contemporary exhibition spaces and had an active social scene with regular openings, parties and hangouts that resulted in intense art, and philosophical and political discussions lasting long into the night," McNamara said.

The works of about three dozen artists' work are featured in the exhibit, and a free, 70-page booklet that includes profiles and art from the artists will be available. The July 8 reception and open house will feature meet-and-greet opportunities with some of the artists, guided tours and refreshments, along with live music from Sopwith Camel. The band is best known for being the second San Francisco band to be signed by a major record company - right after Jefferson Airplane and before the Grateful Dead - and the first to have a top-40 hit. Band member Peter Kraemer has close ties to the northern Nevada art scene, having been raised and influenced by his mother, artist Zoray Andrus, in Virginia City.

"My mother owned an art gallery, and was an artist herself," Kraemer said. "Virginia City in the early forties was an artists' community like Taos, New Mexico is now, only smaller. Salvador Dali once chased a bird through our house. We lived in a 15-room brewery..."

The colorful northern Nevada arts scene of the 40s' and 50s' "Post-war Bohemians" continued into the 60s and 70s, when the "Far Out" artists of the day took hold. Most of the "Far Out" exhibit can be viewed during regular Knowledge Center hours: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., and 1 - 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Additional works are on display in the Special Collections Exhibit Room on the Third Floor and are available for viewing 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The exhibit is sponsored and supported by the Special Collections Department of University Libraries, with additional funding provided by Nevada Humanities. It is part of Reno's Artown celebration of the arts. For more information, contact the University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections Department at (775) 682-5665 or specoll@unr.edu.


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