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In the Heat of The Rose

In the Heat of The Rose By Bill Berkson

Poet, art critic and San Francisco Art Institute Professor Emeritus Bill Berkson wrote about the seven-plus years Jay DeFeo spent creating her masterwork The Rose for Art in America magazine in March 1996. A shortened version of this piece appeared in the catalogue for the 1996 exhibition “Jay DeFeo: Selected Works 1952-1989.”

Rest in Power, George Floyd

Rest in Power, George Floyd

By Susette Min

This essay introduces a student exhibition that was mounted last quarter right before the call to shelter in place took effect. I wrote the essay on the day after George Floyd’s life was taken away from him by four police officers. In light of what happened, the outcry and wave of global protests over the murder of George Floyd, I thought it fitting to add the following reflection on this new turn of events in relation to the exhibition, Rest is Power.

Lucy Puls: Just You

Lucy Puls: [just you] By Dena Beard

Curator Dena Beard writes about UC Davis Professor of Art Lucy Puls’ recasting and recycling of everyday materials into art objects that then embody and provoke ideas about how we observe and remember our relationship to the things around us. The following catalog essay accompanied Puls’ 2015 exhibition at Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento.

Timelessness and the Power of Memory

Heghnar Watenpaugh on the Problem with Timelessness and the Power of Memory By Lindsay Baltus

Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh, art history professor at UC Davis, was recently awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to support work on her upcoming book about the cultural heritage of the medieval Armenian city of Ani.

At Home with Robert Arneson

At Home with Robert Arneson By Simon Sadler

This essay by UC Davis professor Simon Sadler about Robert Arneson's The Palace at 9 a.m. was first published in the 2007 catalogue for You See: The Early Years of the UC Davis Art Faculty. Arneson’s Palace was last shown at the museum in fall 2019 as part of Landscape Without Boundaries

Cup of Coffee

Reflections on Cup of Coffee, 1961 By Rachel Teagle



Like so many of Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings, Cup of Coffee is unassuming at first look. This small white painting features a ceramic mug of coffee, just like one you’ve held countless times. In fact, it looks a lot like the IKEA mug sitting on my desk right now. And yet, in 1961 Thiebaud took a plain old “cup of joe” as his subject, and made a remarkable painting at a pivotal moment in his career.

Wine: It's a Thing of Beauty

Wine: It's a thing of beauty


“It was a kind of a little concept, and now in a dream form and now it’s becoming a reality,” Margrit Mondavi said in a 2014 interview at UC Davis. “When I go to Davis, I see the wine school and the new winery, and the food science school in their great bright colors with their performing arts center. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful village of the things that we love: wine, food and the arts.”

Of Serendipity and a Secret Sauce

Of Serendipity and a Secret Sauce By Peter Plagens


On the occasion of the opening of the Manetti Shrem Museum in November 2016, artist, art critic and novelist Peter Plagens wrote this essay illuminating the maverick spirit of the artists and teachers who founded UC Davis’s art department.