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Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Utah Museum Of Fine Art To Open After 1.5-Year Hiatus

Erik Neumann
Pantone color swatches line the walls in an installation by Spencer Finch at the Utah Museum of Fine Art.

The Utah Museum of Fine Art will re-open this weekend after a one-and-a-half year hiatus featuring several new exhibits.

When you first step into the exhibit by New York artist Spencer Finch, you see a narrow line of colors, like paint swatches, wrapping around the museum’s expansive great hall.

"He treated this like a map of Great Salt Lake. And he took three days to circumnavigate Great Salt lake," Says Whitney Tassie. 

Tassie is the Senior Curator of the Utah Museum of Fine Art. She’s describing the journey Finch took around the Great Salt Lake, meticulously recording the colors of shrubs, rocks, earth, and salt that makes up one of the museum’s new exhibits.

"It’s a record. It’s a way of translating that journey for each visitor that comes here," she says. 

Another exhibit is called HERE, HERE. In it, black and white wood and papier mache orbs, boxes, and geometric shapes fill a room inviting viewers to assemble them into their own interactive works. Janelle and her sister Lisa Iglesias go by Las Hermanas Iglesias. They’re visiting Utah to produce the exhibit.

"They’re there as sort of raw material for the viewer to reinvent and remake the space as they see fit," Janelle Iglesias says.  

During the 19 months the museum was closed, resources went into clearing and restoring artwork that was previously in storage, developing exhibit interpretation in Spanish, and upgrading the climate system in the museum building to protect the art inside.  

Gretchen Dietrich is the Executive Director of the UMFA.

"Now we’ve been able to use new technologies inside our walls to improve our vapor barrier so that that moist, warmer air is going to stay in the building better, especially in the winter time," Dietrich says. 

According to Dietrich, patrons have never seen almost 50 percent of the museum’s artwork. The full restoration, installation, and retrofit cost just under $5 million. The museum re-opens on Saturday.

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