Sun Valley Museum of Art (SVMoA) invites the community to a free opening celebration for its new BIG IDEA project, Free Play, on Friday, March 20, 2020, at The Museum in Ketchum. The celebration is free to the public and will begin at 5 p.m., with participating artists Tucker Nichols and Matt Sellars speaking about their artwork at 6 p.m.
This BIG IDEA project considers the way that artists, architects and designers have worked to create artistically thoughtful spaces for playful social interaction, recreation and engagement, recognizing that play triggers creativity in people of all ages and that time dedicated to unstructured play can have enormous value.
The Free Play exhibition was inspired in part by influential 20th-century artist Isamu Noguchi, who believed in the power of social spaces to unite art and play in order to build community. With this BIG IDEA, SVMoA hopes to unleash the community’s creativity, remembering that that the freedom of play nurtures experimentation and heightens the senses. From expanding the imagination to strengthening interpersonal relationships and creating joy, play provides essential benefits for children and adults alike.
The visual arts exhibition for Free Play features artists whose work explores themes that are central to the BIG IDEA:
- Best known for his work as a sculptor and furniture designer, Isamu Noguchi also designed playgrounds and play structures that married his sculptural aesthetic with the desire to create spaces for social interaction through play. The exhibition includes a selection of Noguchi’s models and drawings for playgrounds, play equipment and toys. In addition to examining Noguchi’s ideas about play spaces, the project looks at the legacy of his ideas, including their impact on the designers of Sun Valley Resort’s terrain parks. Photographs of Sun Valley’s terrain park features, which incorporate Noguchi’s theories and aesthetic, are also part of the exhibition.
- Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres-García made painted wooden toys using simple geometric forms that reflect his modernist and Constructivist aesthetic. In the late 1910s, he began designing transformable wooden toys with the intention of producing them for the mass market. This exhibition includes a selection of Torres-García’s original toys alongside reproductions that visitors can play with.
- Two paintings by Torres-García’s student Gonzalo Fonseca illuminate the connection between Torres-García’s Constructivist impulses and his toy designs. Fonseca was also a friend of Noguchi and a designer of play spaces. The exhibition includes photographs of Fonseca’s playgrounds and interactive sculptural spaces, as well.
- The exhibition also includes interactive work by two contemporary artists, Tucker Nichols and Matt Sellars, each offering visitors opportunities for open-ended creative play. Nichols’s “Starfield Simulator” invites visitors to create their own constellations using translucent forms and an overhead projector, while “Boomtown” encourages visitors to build their own sculptural cities using wooden blocks and other materials. Sellars invites visitors to climb and move through his play structure “Ruta Alternativa” (Alternative Route), where they can manipulate and maneuver around sculptures of different sizes and play a game of checkers at his handmade game table.
To encourage community participation and discussion, SVMoA will present a series of lectures, workshops, special events and films that further illuminate the BIG IDEA:
THEATRE: Improv Comedy Workshop Thursday, March 12 & Friday March 13, 6–9 p.m., and Saturday, March 14, noon – 4 p.m., with public performance at 7 p.m.
FREE Artist Talk with Tucker Nichols Thursday, March 19, 5:30 p.m.
FREE Opening Celebration and Gallery Walk Friday, March 20 , 5–7 p.m.
FREE Evening Exhibition Tour Thursday, April 2, 5:30 p.m.
FILM: Love, Gilda Thursday, April 2, 4:30 & 7 p.m.
FREE Doodle and Drink with Sawtooth Brewery Wednesday, April 8, 5:30 –7 p.m.
FREE Panel Discussion: Play Grounds Tuesday, April 9, 6 p.m.
FREE Family Day – “The World Is a Playground!” Saturday, April 18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
FREE Doodle and Drink with Sawtooth Brewery Wednesday, April 22, 5:30 –7 p.m.
TEEN WORKSHOP: “Get Decked” – Acrylic Painting Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
FILM: Meow Wolf: Origin Story Thursday, April 23, 4:30 & 7 p.m.
THEATRE: 24-Hour Play Festival Friday, May 1, 7 p.m.
FREE Evening Exhibition Tour Thursday, May 14, 5:30 p.m.
The Free Play exhibition will be on view March 20 through May 22, 2020, at The Museum in Ketchum. For more information, please visit svmoa.org or call 208.726.9491.
Free Play is generously supported by Jeanne Meyers, with additional support from the Dawson Family.