Tarble’s grand opening will showcase new exhibitions, renovations

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Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Associate News Editor

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tarble Arts Center had to close its doors, finding different ways to continue sharing art and hosting events for the Eastern community to enjoy.

Now, after a year and a half, the Tarble is reopening its doors with new exhibitions and renovations.

The Tarble’s fall exhibition grand opening will be happening 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday.

The grand opening is free and open to the public, but people interested in attending will need to pre-register online.

According to Jennifer Seas, the Tarble’s director and chief curator, since they renovated the Tarble, the exhibitions “show off the new spaces spectacularly.”

Seas said that she “missed creating social spaces that make room for people to visit with each other, experience art in person, have discussions, and be reflective.”

“All of the work that goes into creating a safe environment during a pandemic takes a lot of thought and energy, but we know that what we provide is valuable to the campus and surrounding community, so we are working hard to make it happen,” Seas said. “We are excited to share our work with the public and see people [in real life]!”

At the grand opening, attendees will get a chance to see the Tarble’s new installations, such as the interactive art installation, “Yoko Ono: Mend Piece.”

“We had to break all those dishes for an installation by the conceptual artist Yoko Ono,” Seas said. “For the work entitled ‘Mend Piece,’ Ono invites visitors to come into an all-white space where there are tables strewn with broken ceramics and tools for mending. Each person can create a new object from the fragments of china and display it on the shelves in the gallery.”

The fall exhibition will also include ‘Force Majeure,’ an exhibition that traces the history of video and technology as media for the voices of feminist discourse.

“’Force Majeure’ is a group exhibition of very powerful video and media works,” Seas said. “I’m excited to share it with audiences for a number of reasons: First, the works in the show are excellent and because they are all time-based works with a story to tell, the exhibition rewards repeat visits. Secondly, the exhibition design is quite innovative, and you would be hard-pressed to find an exhibition like this at any other art museum.”

Seas said that because a lot of the gallery is dark and empty most of the time, the installation is quite dramatic.

“This design emphasizes ideas about presence and absence that the artworks investigate, and it also makes you really move your body around the space,” Seas said.

One of the artists from ‘Force Majeure,’ Micha Cárdenas, stylized as micha cárdenas, contributed a work for the show that is outside the galleries. Cárdenas will also be doing a virtual artist talk with the Tarble Arts Center on Oct. 21.

“It is an augmented reality game that tells the story of a trans Latinx artificial intelligence hologram who has come back from the future to tell us what her world is like,” Seas said. “She brings her dog, Roja, to help guide users through the game. Isn’t that a cool way to make art?”

During the grand opening, attendees will also get to watch a live performance from musicians Brad Decker and Will Porter.

Though the musicians will only perform live during the grand opening, the recorded music will continue to play for the remainder of the fall exhibition cycle.

Seas said that “the performance on Friday night will be quite special,” and that the musicians “will play music that was generated from the sounds of us breaking hundreds of cappuccino cups and saucers in the gallery!”

Along with listening to the recorded music, people who visit the Tarble will also be able to see residue from the live performance, as it will remain on view for the fall exhibition cycle.

Aside from new exhibitions, the Tarble has had lots of new renovations. Since the Tarble was closed all last year, they thought it would be a good opportunity to make some changes.

“We love how the new spaces look and feel, and we hope you will too,” Seas said. “Getting rid of the carpeting and fabric on the walls has really changed how sound resonates in the building, which has encouraged us to present so many sound-forward projects this fall. We are quite literally creating good vibes over here!”

Seas said that she wants the Eastern community to know that everyone is always welcomed at the Tarble.

“The Tarble is a space for belonging. I think sometimes people are tentative about coming to art museums—maybe because they’ve had boring experiences before, maybe because they think art isn’t for them, or maybe because they’re not sure what to expect,” Seas said. “I want the EIU community to know that art is for everyone and everyone is always welcome here. Coming to sit in a gallery with art is a way to escape from everyday life into another world. Our spaces provide room for daydreaming and reverie, for investigating complex ideas, for learning new things, for experiencing beauty, and for connecting with other people in meaningful ways.”

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]