"Small Pleasures" is designed for the facade of the Ulrich Museum of Art (Wichita, KS) in place of Joan Miro's monumental mosaic Personnages Oiseaux. Miro’s mural is under restoration from 2012 through 2016, which is the duration of this project. The installation consists of a billboard-sized banner covering the facade, a small waterproof display case mounted in the middle of the banner, and two telescopes installed across the street for the viewing of miniature works displayed in the case. Bimonthly, a new item is featured in the 'mini gallery' selected from a pool of submissions. See 'call for entries' for detail.

We have all experienced the aesthetic pleasures of engaging with art and untouched nature. While these experiences do not characterize our daily routines, the aesthetic pleasures of everyday life are also worth acknowledging because they are available to everyone at potentially any moment. This 'exhibition' solicits (art) objects, short pieces of writing, photographs, and everything in between, which capture inspirational moments of aesthetic or intellectual satisfaction that are subtle, fleeting, and often unnoticed.

Please submit items for consideration through SlideRoom

Note: While the metal display case is 36" wide by 36" tall, and 11" deep, displayed items must be no larger than 10"X10"X10" in size. Submissions requiring power supply or sound need to be self-contained (Include battery, solar panel, wireless headphone, etc. Supplementary items are not included in size restriction).

Please note: 1. The Ulrich Museum of Art holds and owns the copyright to objects on view. 2. Because of the nature of this exhibition, I, the Ulrich Museum of Art, or Wichita State University will not bear financial responsibility for damage to objects due to exposure to sunlight, moisture, or temperature fluctuation. Otherwise, objects will be handled with the utmost care.

Each entry is selected by a new person (professional artist, art historian, critic, curator, etc) on a bimonthly schedule. Each 'juror' is responsible for designating the next. This 'curatorial' approach is intended to be as open and democratic as possible while ensuring quality in the selection process. Featured items will be cataloged on this website along with brief statements from the jurors.

The following is a digital catalog of exhibitions

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L • canonized object

I received this brick as a gift from a relative shortly before he passed away. It is an object that was blessed by Amma, a Hindu spiritual leader, during one of her visits to the US. I am fascinated by the process that allows this ordinary brick to become ‘visible’ within the matrix of venerated artifacts; a process akin to the one that makes objects sensible as works of art. It’s an operation where base material is transformed through a certain kind of ritual by someone with the appropriate authority, resulting in an object that appears in a new matrix where the suspension of disbelief is presupposed.  – L

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Judy Rushin • acrylic on panel with scuffs

In the spirit of her work titled "The Ding is the Object of Desire," Judy Rushin mailed this miniature painting from Tallahassee to Wichita without any packing. The resulting composition is a combination of intent and accident, where the network of carefully composed geometric pattern is altered by the various scuffs and dings accumulated in transit.

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Sarah Walko • found and mixed media

There were many worthy applicants for the ‘Small Pleasures’ exhibition, and I admired the range of approaches.  However, Sarah Walko’s work was distinctive in that it combined a mad scientist aesthetic with a flexibility of scale and material that surprises upon close inspection.  Her pantheist approach notes the similarity of urge that produces a bird’s nest by one species, and a test tube by another.  Walko’s combination of natural and cultural materials seems specific in a manner that not only suggests that her selections are not random—but that they might actually be casting a spell.  – Craig Drennen

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Margaret Noel and Kevin Mercer Jr. • collage and mixed media object

Small pleasures could be considered  transitory experiences of enjoyment that, even if enormous, dissolve into memory once they are over...compressed versions of the original full-life, technicolor event.  Drive-by vistas, trailer homes, scaffolding, billboard images:  each element that comes from the combined work of Margaret Noel and Kevin Mercer Jr. against the background imagery of Levente Sulyok are as transitory as mushrooms...things that quickly appear, flourish briefly and then disappear almost as fast.   

The scaffolding in Levente's billboard sized image creates a huge stage-in-progress for a tiny show--a little exhibition space about the size of a drive-through window serving up Margaret Noel's four by nine inch collage, itself like a miniature billboard depicting a road trip view of a fast approaching city from a more rural looking highway.  Parked just below is Kevin Mercer Jr.'s toy sized sculpture, a nostalgic feeling, somehow collage-like construction of a trailer home.  No mailbox, no landscaping--this is trailer is only stopping for a short time.  

Seeing all these pieces together might seem to describe some sort of an account of an event...who knows, a traveling show? a rock concert? a carnival?  What the event is doesn't matter though, not so much as the feelings these pieces collectively describe--sensations that orbit around the idea of an event...something that we move through, enjoy briefly, and pass out of.  The telescopic viewfinders across the street from the grand billboard remain as the only true stationary points in the show.  Like bridges, like memory, we look through them to see, in pieces and parts, the whole picture. – Dante Brebner

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Ajean Lee Ryan • found fabric, mixed media

As objects, Ajean Lee Ryan’s miniature creations are really engaging. I kept going back, wondering what they are and what their purpose could be. Is "My Mesa" a pile of abject material? A delicious stack of pancakes? A landscape? Perhaps it’s all of the above. – Nina Tichava

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Peter Vas • solar powered garden light

Quote from the artist:

“I recently purchased one of those solar powered garden lights for my porch. I had the top of the light sitting on a table unassembled. The built in sensor activated the light once it got dark in the room, and I was pleasantly surprised by the pattern it projected onto the wall.

To experience the pattern the light creates, the viewer will have to be in the right place at the right time: during or after sunset.”

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Christine Shank • mixed media miniature

Christine Shank's series of photographed dioramas of dilapidated domestic interiors are both haunting and beautiful. The viewer peers through windows and doorways to discover scenes of tragic disasters. Homes abandoned and forgotten. At times, homes destroyed by disasters, both natural and manmade, physical and emotional. The viewer is confronted with more questions than answers.

Her work presents a fragment of a larger narrative and the viewer becomes the author of that larger narrative. I believe Shank's work is perfectly suited for Small Pleasures’ mini gallery because experiencing her work from the safe distance of the telescope further emphasizes the viewer's role in the proposed narrative. – Dustin Parker

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Alma Hollander • text on paper

How is this not one of the simplest and most over-looked of life's small pleasures? 

Word up, Alma.... I'm picking up what you're laying down. – Seth Minor