Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery Celebrates Grand Opening

August 27, 2018 — Georgetown University is proud to announce the dedication of the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery. Funded by gifts from generous alumni and other donors, the Gallery will present world-class art exhibitions and engagement programs to members of the campus community, the Georgetown neighborhood, and the Washington, D.C. region.

The Gallery, which is housed in the Walsh Building at 3535 Prospect Street Northwest, has been under construction since February 2017. It is the product of years of careful planning by former College Dean Chester Gillis and current dean Christopher Celenza, Art & Art History Department faculty, and lead donors Maria (C’87, P’17, P’22) and Alberto de la Cruz (B’89, P’17, P’22), members of the College Board of Advisors, alumni, parents, and others.

NEW DIRECTOR

Al Miner, who joined Georgetown in 2017 as Founding Director/Chief Curator of Georgetown University Art Galleries and Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Art and Art History, will provide the strategic vision and much of the curatorial content for the new gallery.

“This marks an exciting moment in the evolution of both the arts and multidisciplinary programming on Georgetown’s campus,” Miner said. “The Gallery will be a unique intellectual and creative incubator for all of Georgetown University’s diverse departments and initiatives.”

Miner, an award-winning curator of contemporary art, who previously held positions at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, sees the Gallery as an opportunity to bring visual art into meaningful dialogues happening on campus.

“Working in collaboration with key partners across the university and in our community, we will place great art and artists at the center of critical conversations,” Miner said. “We hope to create opportunities for diverse audiences to not only look at art, but also to have meaningful and memorable experiences.”

A PLATFORM FOR UNDERSTANDING

The Gallery will present one exhibition featuring the work of nationally or internationally acclaimed professional artists each semester. A diverse range of exhibits will focus on socially-engaged creative practices.

Miner said, “We’ll strive to use art and the artistic voice as a platform to continue to promote cross-cultural understanding.”

The Gallery will primarily focus on global contemporary art, but also aims to incorporate historical works in future exhibitions, sparking new dialogues across time.

FLEA MARKET

The Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery will launch its performance art and public engagement series with Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, an event that unites the creative and the commercial in an interactive experience.

Flea Market allows a select group of vendors — including local artists and Georgetown University student clubs, performers, and entrepreneurs — to sell their goods in a market-like environment. Vendors set the rules of their transactions: They can sell a product or experience, choose to allow haggling or not, and set their own prices. Vendors retain 100% of the proceeds.

A D.C.-area native, Pruitt has worked extensively in New York and internationally. Flea Market, which has occurred in many different locales since its inception in 1999, is one of his more notable projects. The Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery iteration of Flea Market marks the first time it will be staged on a college campus.

Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on August 29 and 30 in both the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery and the adjoining Nora Cooney Marra Memorial Atrium of the Walsh Building.

DON’T MAKE ME OVER

Jeffrey Gibson: DON’T MAKE ME OVER will inaugurate the annual exhibitions cycle at the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery when it opens on September 27.

Gibson — an acclaimed Choctaw-Cherokee artist whose work celebrates Native culture, queer identities, and Modern aesthetics — will present new work, including paintings on rawhide, an installation, and a performance piece.

Inspired by the 1962 Dionne Warwick song, DON’T MAKE ME OVER, Gibson’s performance at 6:30pm on September 27 will provide audiences unique access to the artist.

“This is the first time an exhibition will focus so heavily on Gibson’s rawhide paintings,” Miner said. “These colorful, asymmetrical diptychs are intimate in scale and play with negative space more than Gibson’s prior paintings. They vibrantly bring together Gibson’s interest in Native American painting traditions and the language of Abstraction.”

DON’T MAKE ME OVER will be open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

FUTURE EXHIBITIONS

The Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery exhibition calendar is booked through the Spring 2020 semester. Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions featuring Glenn Ligon — one of the most celebrated African American artists working today — and San Juan-based social practice artist Chemi Rosado-Seijo, whose project for the 2017 Whitney Biennial forged a new partnership between the Museum and a nearby public school.

“We are thrilled and honored to be featuring such respected and dynamic artists at this foundational moment in the history of the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Gallery,” Miner said. “Ligon’s exhibition will present works from his best-known series, including never-before seen paintings juxtaposed in new ways. Rosado-Seijo’s commissioned project for Georgetown will connect our campus and local communities in new and powerful ways.”

REIMAGINED SPAGNUOLO GALLERY

Concurrent to the construction of the Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery, Georgetown’s Lucille M. and Richard F.X. Spagnuolo Art Gallery has received extensive renovations, improving the Gallery’s appearance and ability to host multimedia projects.  

The renovations to the Spagnuolo Gallery, originally established in 2003, were made possible by generous support of the Spagnuolo family.

The Gallery will host Beth Katleman: Strange Arcadia from August 28 – December 9. The exhibition brings together the New York artist’s seminal immersive ceramic installation, Folly, and a new piece, both of which reference pop culture and art history.

The renovated Spagnuolo Gallery will be open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.