Collective Museum

Exhibition dates February 11 - March 12, 2016

Presented by:  Institute of the Arts and Sciences
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, Porter College

Thursday, February 11:

4 pm Public Doors and Windows in conversation with Lydia Matthews, Professor of Visual Culture and Director of the Curatorial Design Research Lab, Parsons School of Design, The New School

Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) 108

5- 7 pm Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery Opening Reception, comments at 6:00pm
photos from the opening

Collective Museum Walking TOURS
Friday, February 12, 2016 and Saturday, February 13, 2016

Meet at 9 am in front of the Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) to begin the tour. Parking ($4) is available in the Performing Arts Lot.

+ Saturday, February 13: Meet at 10 am in the Farm parking lot. Parking is available at meters or by permit ($4). Center for Agroecology and Sustainable food Systems (UCSC Farm)

Join Portland-based artists Harrell Fletcher, Molly Sherman and Nolan Calisch, collaborating under the name Public Doors and Windows (PDW), on February 12 and 13 for participatory walking tours ofCollective Museum.  

For more information email

Collective Museum is an innovative participatory exhibition by Portland-based artist group Public Doors and Windows that encompasses 50 sites on the UC Santa Cruz campus. To mark the projects's launch, the Institute of the Art and Sciences at UC Santa Cruz is excited to announce a tandem exhibition at the Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery. The exhibition opens on February 11, 2016, and displays sculptures of each site in the Collective Museum, made by students in Professors A. Laurie Palmer and Dee Hibbert-Jones’s art classes, along with portraits of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who provided the sites and stories that compose the Collective Museum.

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Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, noon to 5:00pm and Wednesday until 8:00pm. The gallery is located at Porter College, UCSC and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and metered or special event parking is available at Porter College. Group tours are available by appointment at (831) 459-3606.

Image Credit: Public Doors and Windows

Conceived by Public Doors and Window artists Harrell Fletcher, Molly Sherman, and Noland Calisch to be the first exhibition of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, Collective Museum takes the university from “having no museum” to having “one of the largest museums in the world,” in their words. 

Collective Museum has been generously supported by grants from the UC Institute for Research in the Arts, the Arts Dean’s Fund for Excellence, the Alumni Fund for Visiting Artists,  Nion McEvoy '74 and the McEvoy Family Fund, Patricia '88 and Rowland Rebele, Jock Reynolds '69, and by annual donors to the Institute.

About Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery

The Sesnon Gallery encourages interdisciplinary discourse through the lens of the arts. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, noon to 5:00pm and Wednesday until 8:00pm. The gallery is located at Porter College, UCSC and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and metered or special event parking is available at Porter College. Group tours are available by appointment at (831) 459-3606. 

more info

According to Institute of the Arts and Sciences founding director, John Weber, “Collective Museum responds brilliantly to key aspects of our mission, offering a creative, playful, yet deeply meaningful look at UC Santa Cruz, our culture, and our campus.  It will offer visitors a unique window into the university. Yet I’m also sure that even long-time campus staff, faculty and students will learn something new and fascinating about this unusual place.” Sesnon Gallery Director Shelby Graham adds, “this multiple-site, exhibition project breaks new ground for the future of museums, by combining collective memory, storytelling, landscape, objects, and walking beyond the gallery walls.”


The artists’ “museum” demonstrates a broad, interdisciplinary reach, deliberately touching on locations and activities across campus, even extending down to the Long Marine Lab, and the Forest Ecology Research Plot, a hard-to-find site on the Upper Campus.  Each of the 50 sites is marked with distinctive blue signage, with a short quote from the site contributor and a link to interviews and information.  Additional gallery walls across campus further document the sites and deepen the project.  “The artists are calling this project a museum,” says Weber. “But it is also a huge conceptual art work that needs to be experienced by walking, looking, thinking, and also talking with others.  We look forward to creating tours of the project with students as tour guides, just like you’d tour a museum; not looking at everything there, but picking out a few favorite pieces to share with visitors.”


Rachel Nelson, the IAS’s graduate assistant, served as co-curator of the project while pursuing her work towards a Ph.D. in Visual Studies.  “My work is on contemporary art that engages issues of social justice,” Nelson said, “and working closely with Harrell, Molly and Nolan over two years has given me great insight into the processes that inform and shape this commitment in art practice.  I’m also constantly surprised at how PDW was able to capture so much of UC Santa Cruz.  My own time here has been a mixture of intense intellectual moments with amazing scholars like Angela Davis, David Marriott and Jennifer González, confrontations with social forces, upheavals in the form of strikes and protests...all of it punctuated by dreamy walks through the trees and ravines.  You get a surprisingly rich glimpse of this experience in PDW’s Collective Museum.”


A print-on-demand collection catalogue documents the Collective Museum.  As with the other aspects of the project, it echoes but updates traditional museums practices, taking the form of a largely informational, no-nonsense 140-page book.  It includes archival and new photos about all the sites, a conversation between the artists and renowned museum scholar and historian James Clifford, emeritus professor in UC Santa Cruz’s History of Consciousness department, and an essay about the work of Public Doors and Windows by Weber and Nelson.  Clifford is also a participant in the project, contributing and discussing one site.  Another catalogue contributor is the filmmaker, performance artist and author Miranda July, who offers an evocative autobiographical reminiscence of her two years on campus as a student. 


About the Artists:

Public Doors and Windows (PDW) is a Portland-based collaborative artist group consisting of Harrell Fletcher, Molly Sherman, and Nolan Calisch. The artists share a commitment to art based in social practice and find inspiration for their distinctive approach to art making in farming and community supported agriculture. As the artists explain, small-scale farming provides them with “a conceptual model for socially engaged art that is cooperative and engages with issues of social justice.”


The Institute of the Arts and Sciences invited PDW to do a site-specific work at UC Santa Cruz based on this shared mode of practice. UC Santa Cruz has been home to a thriving organic farm since 1972: the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (the UCSC Farm.) And, not coincidentally, Harrell Fletcher completed the apprenticeship program at the Farm in 1995.


Harrell Fletcher’s work has been shown and collected at institutions nationally and internationally, including SFMoMA, New Museum, MoMA, Tate Modern in London, and National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He was a participant in the

2004 Whitney Biennial. From 2002 to 2009, Fletcher co-produced Learning To Love You More, a participatory website with filmmaker/artist/author Miranda July, a UCSC alumna. Fletcher is Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.


Molly Sherman is an artist and graphic designer. Nolan Calisch is an artist, photographer, and farmer. Sherman and Calisch share a collaborative art practice called Farm School. Their work has been shown at Centre Pompidou, the Matisse Museum, New Seasons Market, the Portland Art Museum, Portland State University, and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art.


project coordinators:
Co-curator John Weber, Founding Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences

Co-curator Rachel Nelson, Ph.D. Candidate, Visual Studies

Shelby Graham, Director, Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery

 For more information, please visit our website:


COMING SOON official Website launch on February 11




















Collective Museum Press ReleaseFINAL1-7-16.pdf96.99 KB
CollectiveToursweb.pdf1.58 MB