January 2022
Professor Emeritus Wayne Thiebaud (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)
Professor Emeritus Wayne Thiebaud's Legacy Will Live On

Wayne Thiebaud, a founding member of the art department and world-renowned artist, died on Dec. 25, 2021. Known for his lush paintings of food, imaginative takes on the California landscape, distinctive figurative paintings and masterful prints, he came to UC Davis in 1961. After his 1991 retirement, he continued to return to campus to teach and support the Department of Art and Art History and the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. He remained active even up to his 101st birthday this past November. 

“Wayne Thiebaud will have a powerful impact on succeeding generations of students,” said Annabeth Rosen, co-chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “He was exceptional in his dedication to teaching long after he retired.”

Event Changes Due to COVID-19

Due to the resurgence of COVID-19, some events are being delayed or moved online. Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art exhibtions are expected to open later this month. Visit the websites linked below for the latest information.
Exhibition Revisits William Wiley and the Saga of the ‘Slant Step’ — January to May 7
William Wiley was a longtime UC Davis art professor, renowned artist, punster and champion of the Slant Step, a touchstone of Funk art. His work from the mid-1960s, some made with his student Bruce Nauman, gets a close look in “William T. Wiley and the Slant Step: All on the Line” at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. The exhibition gathers for the first time many slant step objects made by both artists and others. Wiley died in early 2021 and the exhibition also serves as a reminder of his influence as a professor at UC Davis from 1963 to 1993.

The original “step” is an oddly-shaped stool Wiley purchased in 1965 at a thrift store. He gave it to Nauman (M.A., art, ’66), who became one of the most widely respected and influential artists of the last 50 years. Wiley and Nauman, along with many other artists in Northern California and beyond, created art inspired by the step.

Wiley's artistic expression poured out in paintings, found object constructions, sculpture, printmaking, music, performance, theater and film. His art was in the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennial in the 1980s, and a retrospective was organized by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in 2009.
The original step disappeared for decades, but a few years ago it resurfaced and was donated to the Fine Arts Collection at UC Davis by two of Wiley’s former students.
(Top) "Reflections on Egypt," 1964, by William T. Wiley, Private collection, courtesy Parker Gallery, Los Angeles. © William T. Wiley. (Bottom) "The Slant Step," Fine Arts Collection, Manetti Shrem Museum. Gift of the New York Society for the Preservation of the Slant Step. (Cleber Bonato) 
Left: Shiva Ahmadi. Right: "Marooned," 2021, (video still) by Shiva Ahmadi. Single-channel video animation with sound. Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery. © Shiva Ahmadi
Art Professor’s Newest Animation Comes to Life for First Time at UC Davis — January to June 19
Professor Shiva Ahmadi's newest animation is included in the exhibition “From Moment to Movement: Picturing Protest in the Kramlich Collection" at the Manetti Shrem Museum. The media/video exhibition explores resistance and how art and media shape our understanding of it. Being shown for the first time, Ahmadi's "Marooned" shows figures hauling large rocks to build a causeway to an abandoned oil tanker with their task hampered by creatures attacking them. The work, which required 5,172 individual paintings, was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The soundtrack was composed by Aida Shirazi, who received her doctorate in music composition and theory from UC Davis in 2021. 
Scholar and Poet Reads With Faculty Novelist — Jan. 13
Michael D. Snediker (pictured top), a poet and scholar, and Lucy Corin (pictured bottom), professor of creative writing in the Department of English, will give a remote reading. Snediker’s 2021 book Contingent Figure: Chronic Pain & Queer Embodiment brings together literary, queer and disability studies.

Corin’s newest novel is The Swank Hotel, published in October 2021. Her other books include One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses, The Entire Predicament and Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls
All concerts this month are part of the free Shinkoskey Noon Concerts and will be live in person at the Ann E. Pitzer Center and also livestreamed on the Department of Music YouTube channel.
Music of California Nature — Jan. 13
Three members of the San Francisco Bay Area group Sl(e)ight Ensemble will perform a concert titled “Of California Ecology,” featuring recent music responding to the natural world: Creek/to\Ocean by Stephanie M. Neumann, California Suite by Kian Ravaei and Shadow Prism by Julie Herndon. The group includes pianist and doctoral music composition student Jacob Lane.
Sl(e)ight Ensemble
The Sounds of Afrofuturism — Jan. 20

The Karlton Hester Jazz Trio will aurally explore this world and an imagined one in the concert “A Hesterian Musicism Approach to Afrofuturism.” A saxophonist, flutist, composer and music professor at UC Santa Cruz, Hester has spearheaded many collaborations across art forms for many years. Afrofuturism is a cultural aesthetic and philosophy of science and history that explores the intersection of the African diaspora and technology.
Karlton Hester
Music for Brass — Jan. 27
Tuba player Portia Njoku, music lecturer and alumnae, will lead a brass concert featuring Die Bankelsangerlieder, a 17th-century sonata.
Professor Emerita Responds to Tragedy with Art – ongoing
Ann Savageau, design professor emerita, created the sculptures in the Design Museum exhibition "Guardians: Spirits of Protection" from flotsam found on the beach and other places in response to traumatic events in her life and the pandemic.