Staff Writer

The Phillips Museum of Art is hosting a new exhibition, “Uncommon Denominator,” featuring the work of acclaimed sculptor and performance artist James Nestor and several of his former students. The exhibit is scheduled to run from Sept. 15 to Dec. 1.

According to Eliza Reilly, director of the Phillips Museum of Art located in the Steinman College Center, Nestor was contacted by Tedd Pettibon, adjunct professor of art and art history, and Line Bruntse, assistant professor of sculpture at Millersville University. They offered Nestor, along with some of his former students, the chance to submit some recent artwork for display at F&M.

Nestor and 18 of his former students, now artists who live and work across the nation, contributed pieces of their work to the exhibit and many came to the College to help install them. Their art is being featured in the Dana and Rothman Galleries, which are dedicated to temporary exhibitions. Other pieces are on display in the Kneedler Sculpture Garden just outside the College Center.

Reilly is very excited to feature some of Nestor’s artwork. Nestor is a highly renowned sculptor who has taught students across the United States, China, Japan, Nicaragua, and Europe in addition to spending 25 years as a professor of sculpture at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is credited with inspiring a new generation of artists, and Reilly hopes the exhibit will reflect Nestor’s influence on his students.

“The idea of ‘Uncommon Denominator’ is that [Nestor’s students] all had this one teacher, but what he did was just liberate them as creative artists,” Reilly said. “He basically gave them confidence, which is what a great teacher does.”

The Phillips Museum recently underwent extensive renovation that converted the third floor, formerly a gallery, into curatorial space for museum staff and student workers. This will allow the museum to plan and organize more exhibitions as well as showcase more of the museum’s permanent collection in the first-floor Nissley Gallery.

“It’s a very diverse collection, but we’ll be showing off a rotating display of various pieces in the permanent collection,” Reilly said.

Reilly also mentioned a few projects the Phillips Museum has on the horizon. Continual focus on student work will figure prominently into the future of the museum; for example, an F&M student is currently working on a project to collect and catalog a variety of historical coins from across the globe that, upon completion, will probably be featured in the Phillips Museum’s Gibson Curriculum Gallery.

In addition, Reilly is trying to coordinate a show for the Spring semester that will showcase Lancaster’s status as the most surveyed city in America.

“Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is the most surveyed — meaning more cameras than any place else in the United States,” Reilly said.

The show will explore the implications of being constantly under surveillance.

The Museum looks forward to bringing new artists and exhibits, like James Nestor and his students in “Uncommon Denominator,” to F&M, and Reilly hopes that students will come to Phillips and enjoy the best of what the art world has to offer.

“The idea here is that a liberal arts education should include access to the arts and also an engagement with the arts and visual culture,” Reilly said. “That’s what our job is.”

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