Posted by: Marissa
June 27, 2013
Going into my senior year at ASU, I realized that there are so many buildings on the Tempe campus that are still complete mysteries to me. Every so often, I have to go into a new building for class or work, and am amazed by what I find. Many have hidden museums, gardens, or state-of-the-art technology displays that many people don’t realize exist. I decided to visit the ASU Art Museum to escape the heat and cross off another building I need to see before I graduate. When I walked up to the museum, I was shocked that the exterior had such gorgeous architecture, and I had never seen it! It was almost hidden away from the rest of campus in its own little corner. I later learned that the building was designed by award-winning architect, Antoine Predock, and is well known for its differentiating architecture.
Walking to the bottom-level entrance, I was surprised to see there weren’t more people enjoying the covered lounge area surrounded by a fountain and sculptures. I know as a student I am always looking for quiet, cool places to hang out in between classes, and this would be a perfect spot. Deborah, the Public Relations Specialist at the museum, was kind enough to give me a guided tour for my first time visit. She explained that much of the art does not have a label next to it because the artists wanted the viewer to analyze the art themselves before learning the back story. If you decide to visit, definitely pick up a free booklet and map with artist information and stories behind the pieces. I enjoyed interpreting the art on my own, since most of the pieces don’t have concrete meaning and was interesting to see how they all came together for the project. If anyone is available for a tour, I would suggest that as the best option since they may give you information that isn’t printed in the handouts. To me, it makes the experience even better hearing the explanations of the artists’ work. Many of the artists’ stories were inspiring and engaging, oftentimes making me much more interested in the pieces. The projects were original and even educational on a global perspective. It was fascinating to learn about other cultures and parts of the world I had never even heard about. Around every corner I was even more impressed, as there were so many different exhibitions and styles on display. Some are funny, some are humbling and beautiful, and some make you wonder how in the world it was even created. Their newest exhibition is titled Turn Off The Sun, which is an exotic collection of works from one of the largest art collections in Latin America. I really liked the subtle political and emotional aspects of that collection.
We ended the tour in the gift shop, where one-of-a-kind jewelry and art from local artists are for sale. I fell in love with more than a few pieces! The gift shop had a wide array of unique items, and is definitely a place to go to get a gift for someone who has everything. Deborah was an awesome guide and I really enjoyed my first experience at the ASU Art Museum. Now my goal is to make sure my friends and fellow Tempe residents go see what they have been missing as well.
For more information about Tempe museums, visit the Tempe Tourism website or call 800-283-6734.