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New Clay Center exhibits cover animals, solar eclipse and Native Americans

Chris Dorst
Arif Khan, curator at the Clay Center, gives a tour of the three new exhibits opening Saturday.
Courtesy photo
Ryan Lee Smith's lithograph "Be Prepared to Stop," printed by Frank Janzen in 2004, is from the exhibit "Migrations," featuring work from six Native Americans.
Courtesy photo
"It's All Relative," a video installation created in 2008 by Michael Sherwin, takes a look at a solar eclipse through the lens of YouTube videos.
WANT TO GO?Public opening of new art exhibitsWHEN: 6-8 p.m. SaturdayWHERE: Clay CenterTICKETS: Free. (Cash bar available.) INFO: 304-561-3570 or, W.Va. -- From contemporary prints to Native American culture to a compilation of YouTube videos, the Clay Center has art for everyone starting Saturday. Three new exhibits will offer a range of artistic styles and subjects in the Clay art gallery through April 7. They are: 
  • "Why Look at Animals?": Organized by the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y., it answers the title question with selections that will make you say, "They make us laugh," "They complete our families" and "They are beautiful." Both familiar and unfamiliar selections from this famous collection will allow visitors to study how photography has been used to tell the stories of animals over the years. This exhibit is sponsored by WesBanco.
  • "Migrations": This show is a collection of fine art prints from six Native American artists whose work, when combined, represents a wide spectrum of cultures and experiences. Created with the help of the University of New Mexico's Tamarind Institute and Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts in Pendleton, Ore., these contemporary pieces put a new spin on traditional Native American art.
  • "It's All Relative": Gallery visitors will see a natural phenomenon through digital means in this interesting look at a lunar and solar eclipse. Artist Michael Sherwin compiled 25 different YouTube videos into one incredible piece.
  •  There will be a free public opening, with cash bar, for all three shows from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.In addition to the exhibits, Arif Khan, the Mary Price Ratrie Curator of Art, has put together a free art and science lecture series, underwritten by the West Virginia Humanities Council. The series focuses on the relationship between art and science.The first lecturer will be Gail Wight, associate professor in the Department of Art and History at Stanford University, who will present "Scientific Inspiration: A Conversation with Gail Wight" at 6 p.m. Jan. 19. This artist/professor integrates science and its history into her artwork and shows how cultural notions of art and science have evolved over the years.
    The second lecture will be "Creativity & Genius" with Rex Jung, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. On Feb. 17, he will discuss the emerging field of positive neuroscience, the study of what the brain does well. He will talk about "genius," what it is and where it comes from, through the emergence of new imaging technologies that illustrate the manifestation of creativity in the brain."Art & Ecology: Land Arts from New Mexico to West Virginia" will be on March 8 with Bill Gilbert, the University of New Mexico's Lannan chair and director of the Land Arts program, and Erika Osborne, an assistant professor of painting at WVU. Natural materials like leaves, soil, branches, rocks and water have been used to create original artworks in landscapes located well away from civilization, left to change and erode under natural conditions. These two "land art" experts discuss this art form and explain how they have introduced Land Arts as a course of study at their respective universities.Other lectures in the series will include "Picturing Science" in April, "Art & Ecology: Influence of Environmental Journalism and Literature on the Visual Arts" with Erika Blumenfeld in May, "Audience Interaction and Reaction" in June and "Art, Activism and Technology" in July.Museum admission is free for members or $6 for children and $7.50 for adults. Films and planetarium shows carry additional fees. For more information on these and other Clay Center exhibits and programs, visit or call 304-561-3570.Reach Sara Busse at or 304-348-1249.
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