Saint Louis Art Museum and Sam Fox School announce Freund Fellows for 2007-08 and 2008-09

Sarah Oppenheimer and Claudia Schmacke to teach in Graduate School of Art, exhibit as part of Currents series

The Saint Louis Art Museum and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis are pleased to announce the selection of artists Sarah Oppenheimer and Claudia Schmacke as Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellows for academic years 2007-08 and 2008-09 respectively.

The Freund Fellowship consists of a yearlong residency in St. Louis, during which time fellows teach in the Sam Fox School’s Graduate School of Art and create exhibitions for the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Currents series.

*554-5251* (2006), an installation by Freund Fellow Sarah Oppenheimer.

Schmacke — who holds a BFA from Kassel University and an MFA from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, both in Germany — creates works that are often site-specific or site related. She has received a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council/World Trade Center residency as well as residencies from the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield Conn.; Smack Mellon Studios in Brooklyn; and the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX, among many others.

Schmacke’s solo exhibitions have included numerous German venues, notably the Westfälisches Landesmuseum in Münster and the Kunstverein Drensteinfurt, as well as North Utstillingssted in Copenhagen and the Goethe Institut and Plane Space, both in New York. Her work also has been featured in several international group exhibitions, including Prosjekt I Gamlebyen in Oslo, Norway, and the Lodz Biennial in Lodz, Poland.

Water is a recurring theme in Schmacke’s videos and environmentally scaled installations. For example, Lights Spots, an installation of hundreds of clear plastic bags containing fluorescent-dyed water, absorbed ambient light during the day and glowed in black fluorescent light at night. For Quintet for Washtubs, galvanized tubs were placed beneath water funnels suspended from the ceiling, creating an eerie concert of drips and echoes.

Reviewing one of Schmacke’s exhibitions for Art in America, the critic Gregory Volk commented, “As one watched all that water and air on its journey, it took on complex metaphorical significance, suggesting the circulatory system of the body or the phloem of plants, but also data moving through networks and, more implicitly gradations of experience, ranging from frantic to serene.”

The Freund Fellowship is supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, which was established to support both the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum as well as the teaching of contemporary art principles in the Sam Fox School. The search for 2007-08 and 2008-09 fellows was led by Michael Byron, associate dean of the College & Graduate School of Art; and Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strengths in 20th-century German art. The Museum offers a full range of exhibitions and educational programming generated independently and in collaboration with local, national and international partners.

The Sam Fox School supports the creation, study and exhibition of multidisciplinary and collaborative work. Offering rigorous art and architecture education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the Sam Fox School links four academic units — the College of Art, College of Architecture, Graduate School of Art and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design — with the university’s nationally recognized Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.