— Indiana University
Shirey art collection at Hutton Honors College
If you walk through the rooms and halls of the Hutton Honors College, you'll now find a range of artwork on nearly every wall -- the approximately 150 works are there to stay, a permanent collection for visitors to enjoy.
Installed in late August 2012, the works comprise the personal collection of Warren W. Shirey, the man who once headed the registrar's office and was instrumental in computerizing the registration process.
"He had a good eye for people going on to become successful," notes art theorist and historian Shehira Davezac, an emerita associate professor of the History of Art at IUB, as the collection includes works by Rudy Pozzatti, William Bailey, James McGarrell, Marvin Lowe, and Bonnie Sklarski, to name a few, all artists who spent time in Bloomington or still reside here today.
Warren passed away in 1978, and his twin brother and his wife, Walter and Phyllis Shirey, gave his collection to the registrar's office in his memory. It hung in the Warren W. Shirey Registration Center in Franklin Hall until the room was remodeled starting around 2000. The collection then went into storage for about 10 years -- until the IU Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to restore the collection.
It found a new home on the brand-new, empty walls of the Hutton Honors College, which had been completed in late 2008. The Shirey family, Rouse said, was thrilled.
"I was there when we took them down, and it made me feel really good to see them put up for the students to enjoy again -- that's what (Wayne) Shirey wanted," said Sherry Rouse, curator of campus art.
The collection includes lithographs, paintings, sketches, three-dimensional works in cases and more.
"Warren worked in Arizona for a while, so he was interested in the desert," said Rouse. "The art in the cases is reflective of the desert and the western part of the country. It's eclectic."
The most featured artist in the collection, visitors are soon to realize, is Rudy Pozzatti, a Bloomington resident who taught printmaking at IU for many years and was cofounder of Echo Press, a fine print workshop that was open from 1979 to 1995.
"He (Warren) was evidently enamored of Rudy Pozzatti's work," Davezac said. "Rudy Pozzatti did a lot for Bloomington -- Echo Press was very important, it brought artists from all over America."
One of Pozzatti's works in the collection, "Homage to Brunelleschi," depicts the massive dome the architect Filippo Brunelleschi constructed over the cathedral in Florence, Italy.
"I've been very concerned with history," Pozzatti said. "I've traveled a great deal, to many countries, and seen many cultures. It's interesting to see how things evolve."
Pozzatti had known Warren Shirey had bought a few of his works, but said he was absolutely amazed when he realized how high the number actually was.
"As an artist, I think it's wonderful. So many of my works are in one place," Pozzatti said, which allows for comparisons to be made between earlier and later works.
The collection as a whole reveals taste in a gamut of styles, all eclectic but within a framework, Davezac observed.
"It shows discernment and a good eye," she said, noting that many works have a serious nature.
Both Davezac and Pozzatti found the Honors College to be a suitable location for the artwork.
"I like it because of the quiet and serene aspect of the environment. It's a wonderful place for people to have a really nice dialogue with the work," said Pozzatti, who thinks the arrangement of the works has a natural progression throughout the school.
Davezac was also excited to see works by Jean Paul Darriau, a former IU professor who she says was an excellent sculptor and very good with the human figure. The Adam and Eve sculpture on campus and the two heads in Miller-Showers Park -- titled "Red, Blond, Black, and Olive" -- are also works of Darriau.
As the staff at the college has the opportunity to enjoy the artwork everyday, some of them have found favorite pieces from among the collection.
HHC Dean Matthew Auer appreciates a small drawing by H. Webster, Jr., that hangs in a second floor hallway titled "Duo Nude," in which a female figure stoops over a low table.
"Perhaps she is reading a letter," Auer said. "Webster's shadow work is masterful, particularly on the left arm and hand -- just one of the many gems on display."
For Jill Baker, director of recruitment and admissions, "Discotheque #1," a painting by renowned Native American artist Fritz Scholder, makes her smile whenever she passes it. Located next to the building's main entrance, the small painting shows a white-haired woman in a red dress.
"Her stance is sassy as she moves to the music, and I imagine her laughing and shouting, 'I may be an old gal, but I can still wear this pretty red dress and boogie the night away,'" Baker said.
J.R. Nolasco, manager of the Edward L. Hutton International Experiences Program, likes the "Kabuki actor" print from the late 1800s which hangs just outside his second floor office. He says it gives him a glimpse into the past of a culture very different from his own.
"The artist captured the intense look and posture of the actor," Nolasco noted. "The wispy Japanese calligraphy surrounding the actor gives the print a more mysterious feel."
Visitors can drop by the college anytime during hours, not just for business but to enjoy the art, which is a permanent collection.
Pozzatti said he has always been concerned with craftsmanship and done everything possible to make his works lasting, so the collection at Hutton will be around for years to come.
Story by Celia Grundman '14
Photos by Naama Levy '15