Our Favorite Gifts: Holiday Edition

The holidays are upon us. Win over your holiday gift exchanges with these unique gift recommendations, available now in the CMA Museum Store. The Museum Store at CMA offers products carefully chosen to capture the essence of creativity and excellent design. CMA members receive 10 percent off all purchases. All purchases include free gift wrapping to make your holiday shopping even easier.

Make your Holidays Shine

Add some sparkle to your holiday décor with fun accents.
Prices range from – $17.95 to $42.95


Loopy mango – Knit Kit 

Everything you need to knit your first hat! 100% merino wool, needles and instructions included. $58

Thurber Scarf

Designed with favorite Thurber dogs and cats. Lightweight and stylish and exclusive to CMA, this scarf will be a chic finishing touch to any outfit 80″x 30″ – 100% Polyester – Machine Washable. $35.95

Gift Books

Choose from art, design, photography, cookbooks and more – something for every coffee table! Full price range

Games for the Family

Puzzles and games for everyone on your gift list! From $14.95 to $24.95

Our Favorite Gifts

Pick up these unique gift recommendations, available now in the CMA Museum Store. The Museum Store at CMA offers products carefully chosen to capture the essence of creativity and excellent design. CMA members receive 10 percent off all purchases.

Take Home a Rodin

Pick up a souvenir from the Rodin exhibition on view now at Columbus Museum of Art. Rodin replica sculptures and books available from $35.95 to $205.

Charley Harper

Whimsical Designs from Ohio’s Own Charley Harper

Find Charley Harper for Kids! activities and books $13.95 to $19.95 in the Museum Store.

James Thurber

A Mile and a Half of Lines: The Art of James Thurber

Pick up a copy of the new book by the Thurber exhibition guest curator Michael Rosen, founding Literary Director of the Thurber House, $29.95.


Go Local Greetings

Greetings cards for all occasions from Columbus designer Jason Bradley-Kraus, $4.95 each.


Add Some Bling

American designed and made Rook Crow jewelry available from $45 to $110.

The Work of Evan Gruzis

What would cultural production look like if we could step outside of it? Although it may seem strange to ask, I think that the question is central to any discussion of Evan Gruzis and his practice. To illustrate this, allow me to outline painting’s cultural function from a macroscopic perspective. At the most basic level, the system at the heart of Western painting (and by extension, most contemporary visual culture) can be described as the simulation of all possible configurations of light on a two-dimensional picture plane. A second system exists within the first like a sort of shadow: a propulsive urge, grounded in materiality, to unmake the image and reveal the raw matter that constitutes it. In turn, this act of revealing generates yet another image. We can now begin to see the dialectic constituting both processes in their totality come into focus, not so much marchingaschurning inevitably forward. Painters who dedicate themselves to the process of unmaking and revealing do not dismantle the primary systemof painting, but instead strive to redeem it.

At first glance, the work of Evan Gruzis seems to be comfortably situated within the first system I’ve described. In his formative work from the late aughts, pop cultural ephemera are reproduced in immaculate detail through precise technique, lit in a manner more in keeping with the standards of commercial photography than contemporary painting. Even the artist’s materials reject typical painterly association: the modestly-scaled ink paintings on paper in the Pizzuti Collection of CMA exhibition feel like they could be mistaken for posters if they were more casually hung. In terms of tone, good taste is replaced by a decidedly non-heroic, almost casual mining of collective nostalgia (a sensibility which would come to define vaporwave a few years after these works were created). The work starts to feel like an advertising campaign that’s come unhinged from the rules of commerce and the constraints of time: one can imagine endless reconfigurations of objects within this eerily lit space, a potentially infinite chain of products awaiting consumption. This alienation from the normal flow of time comes to the foreground in Perfect (2008): an obsolete digital clock face hovers against a vibrant gradient while stuck at 88:88, endlessly waiting to be set.  

Any initial appearance of aversion to classical painterly tropes is misleading; art historical references abound here. This is perhaps most clearly present in Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn (After Jan van Huysum), Gruzis’ homage to the Dutch Baroque artist mostly known for his paintings of flowers. Further examination of Van Huysum’s practice provides an invaluable point of entry into a deeper understanding of Gruzis’ relationship to the continuum of cultural production. In a 2008 interview with Carter Foster for The Journal, Gruzis described his interest in Van Huysum’s Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn (1724) and his desire to re-contextualize it within contemporary discourse:

I was working at the LA County Museum [of Art] and I actually hung that painting. It has all of these flowers that bloom out of season with one another in the same bouquet. It’s an impossible bouquet. So, by taking that idea of impossibility and by turning the still life into a silhouette — an artifice that negates the original — the work becomes a double artifice. I wanted to re-aestheticize that painting.

Where Van Huysum’s flower paintings first appear to contemporary viewers as masterfully-rendered naturalistic still lifes, they actually depict flowers which would have been impossible to keep in bloom simultaneously. Instead, Van Huysum rendered still lifes that, at least at the time, could only exist in the virtual space afforded by painting.          

The relationship between the virtual and the actual articulated by Van Huysum provides us with an excellent position from which to explore Gruzis’ work in more depth.  Like Van Huysum before him, Gruzis knowingly operates as a producer of images first and foremost while sublimating the object status of the works produced. However, these are images that suggest their own unwinding. The objects depicted ultimately reveal themselves to be arbitrary, while the latent possibility space which contains them takes on the utmost importance. Gruzis’ language concerning his own work reinforces this reading: he frequently describes the objects and figures he foregrounds as ‘ghosts’ or ‘liminal actors.’ Rather than standing for the objects they depict, his figures operate as intermediaries, guiding the viewer from one position to another. These are paintings which point outside themselves, or perhaps more accurately, behind themselves.

Much of Gruzis’ work over the past decade has discarded foregrounded objects altogether, instead focusing on stage lighting itself. Many of these more recent works self-reflexively invoke the conditions of viewership, increasingly taking on the form and appearance of constructed situations or theatrical sets. Perhaps the most notable example of this trend, Time isn’t passing…Y– (Corona Borealis), 2016, is a work which hovers somewhere between painting and fullfledged installation. What at first appears to be a cluster of sea-shells arranged on canvas also subtly implements video projection and sound to generate a vaguely tropical ambience. If the viewer turns to the wall text for an explanation of this scene, they will discover that it’s been blurred to the point of illegibility. If the look is still Pop, the feeling is now decidedly Brechtian. In other words, Gruzis suggests that the ‘fourth wall’ of stage and cinema is also present in the gallery experience. In this work and others, he attempts to break through it.      

Having pointed his viewers outside of the possibility space afforded by the system of painting (at least as it is traditionally understood), Gruzis has begun to venture increasingly beyond it himself, questioning the phenomenological conditions which form the possibility for the system’s very existence. This extended position is perhaps most clearly articulated in Real Feelings, a recent edition of psychotropic compounds encased in gelatin capsules: it is an artwork which must be ingested to be experienced. What are we to make of individual neurochemistry as a site for aesthetic intervention? Perhaps just as assemblage extended the logic of painting to suggest the inevitability of all possible rearrangements of objects, this pharmacological turn suggests painting’s ultimate extension into the simulation of all possible subjective experience. If that’s the case, any hope of eventually apprehending cultural production from the outside seems increasingly untenable. Gruzis suggests that art is indeed merging with daily life, but certainly not in the way that past avant-gardes imagined. With all possible experiences transformed into commodities available for consumption, one can imagine that words like ‘progress’ and ‘history’ will themselves be rendered obsolete. Instead, we will be left with a world where Dutch still lifes and digital readouts alike float untethered from their original contexts, andwhere everything seems to move both incredibly quickly and sit perfectly still.

Evan Gruzis: Drop Shadow is on view at the Pizzuti Collection of CMA through September 22, 2019.

– by Nathan Everett Engel, an artist and writer based in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Nathan C. Ward.

Chef’s Corner

Schokko Chef Laura Richmond

Chef’s Corner
We asked Chef Laura Richmond to share some of her best kept baking secrets, those that every home cook would benefit from. Below are her top tips.

  1. Choose Your Ingredients

The most important choice a baker can make is to use unsalted butter. Even better, use European-style unsalted butter.

  1. Be Prepared

Have all of your ingredients prepped, softened, melted, sifted and measured before you begin baking.

  1. Take a break

Let the batter sit for a few minutes before pouring it into the pan to allow ingredients to fully combine. It really does make a difference in the way the cake bakes and the texture of the crumb.

  1. Bake It

Make sure your oven racks are in the center of the oven and rotate positions halfway through baking.

Wonderball Celebrates 5 Years

DJs Donnie and Charles

As CMA celebrates the 5th year of Wonderball, we talked to a few of the performers and members of the planning committee who have been involved since the event’s inception.

The men behind Pacemour Creative – Donnie Mossman and Charles Erickson – have acted as Wonderball’s in-house DJ team, adding impressive visual artwork to the blank canvas of CMA’s Schottenstein Property Group Pavilion. They embody Wonderball at its heart and have helped elevate the experience year over year.

Serving on the event planning and marketing committee, Ann Mulvany has helped grow Wonderball into what it is today, sharing the event throughout Columbus, attracting new attendees and talent.

Here’s what these dedicated art enthusiasts had to say about 5 years of Wonderball:

Dj Donnie Mossman

How does art move you?

Donnie Mossman (DM): Being an artist for a living, art moves me in the sense that it is the reason I get up and go to work. Creating art is something I’m constantly preoccupied with throughout the day. On the other side, as a consumer of art, I think the art that really moves me, tends to hit me in the gut, and the pieces that really stick with me are the ones that evoke an involuntary physical/emotional response, whether it’s a song or a painting or an animated video loop.

Charles Erickson (CE): Art moves me because… it actually moves me. I go places and do things for the sake of art — both to create art as well as to experience the art of others. While human connections may give my life the most meaning, it is art that enables and enhances these connections through jointly experiencing art. Therefore, by extension, art moves me because it makes everything in my life more meaningful.

Ann Mulvany (AM): Art connects me with parts of myself and the world that I don’t often experience or give as much attention. It’s so easy to fall into our own habits and routines — especially for those of us in less creative professions — and we get rooted further and further into those spaces instead of exploring new and different things. Whether it’s street graffiti, classical ballet, or a perfectly formed snowflake, art is a force that pushes me out of my day-to-day and makes me think and feel differently, even if just for a moment. 

What about Wonderball keeps you coming back for more?

DM: I love the atmosphere of creativity around the event and everyone working together to top the previous Wonderballs. Plus, there is always a lot of problem solving for me, which I love. Figuring out solutions for the tricky parts of projection mapping installations is something I really enjoy and it’s very satisfying when it all comes to life the night of the party. I also appreciate the museum being so supportive of all the crazy ideas we’ve done over the past 5 years.

CE: Wonderball is special to me as it was my first significant large-scale collaboration with Donnie as a digital artist. I had previously recruited him to assist me with providing visuals at various social events. When the staff reached out to me about being the featured DJ for the first year of Wonderball, I immediately suggested we additionally contribute projected visuals to the event and brought Donnie along for the ride. After that, our partnership solidified, with me talking our way into things and his immense talent proving why we were supposed to be there. Now, 5 years later, Donnie and I have finally branded our mutual creative work under the name Pacemour Creative. Wonderball is something that allows us to express ourselves creatively — much more so than the majority of our professional/ corporate work.

AM: Beyond supporting the museum and the wonderful things it does in our community, I love that Wonderball brings together such a dynamic group of people. From artists and other creatives to lawyers and financial planners, this event is a convergence of different ideas and experiences. (Plus, who doesn’t love a giant party in the dead of winter?!) 

Do you have a favorite Wonderball memory?

DM: I think the 2018 projection mapping in the windows of the event space was my favorite memory, it was a really difficult but rewarding challenge. Seeing the performers and the guests at Wonderball enjoying it and playing in the light form the projections really made me happy.

CE: I am very proud of the 3D face and the mapped windows, as those were both far more complex offerings than the earlier work… but I keep going back to the feeling we had following the first year. Between the stage projections and the “wonder mirror,” we vastly exceeded expectations. With so many people posting images featuring our visuals on Instagram and Facebook, we were a large part in making that first event truly memorable. It was the moment we knew we’d be a part of Wonderball in the future and that we, as a team, were really on the path to something great. I’m still very thankful for that initial opportunity.

AM: Zane Miller’s two-way protocols at last year’s Wonderball was definitely one of my all-time favorites.

LISTEN: to the Wonderball on Spotify list created by DJs Donnie and Charles.

(Top and bottom photos by Nathan Ward).

Bethany Cramer is marketing director for Zipline Logistics and three-year member of the CMA Wonderball marketing committee. She is an ambassador for creativity in Columbus, a life-long learner, yogi, and SUNY Geneseo alumna.

Q&A with Wonderball 2019 Chairs

2019 Wonderball Chairs

As we quickly approach the last Saturday in January, final preparations are being made for one of the biggest parties of the year – Columbus Museum of Art’s Wonderball. On January 26, everyone is invited to put on their best black and white attire and get moving at a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Central Ohio arts community featuring live music, performance artists, interactive exhibits, artisan cocktails and delectable samples from local eateries. Attendance at Wonderball supports numerous Museum initiatives, but it is no small feat to put on this extraordinary annual bash.

In addition to 100+ community volunteers and nearly all CMA staff, each year has a host or host committee to help wrangle the direction lead the planning process. The chairs of Wonderball 2019 are Sandra Lopez, Joshua Schonauer, and Gerry Rodriguez.

Sandra is a legislative assistant with the City Council Division of Community Engagement, and spends her off-hours pursuing many passion projects through community involvement, including the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. By day, Joshua is Counsel in the Office of the Chief Legal Officer at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. By night, Joshua serves as a board member for CATCOand enjoys volunteering for Buddy UP! Tennis and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and participating in Pelotonia. Not only is Gerry Chief of Staff at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, but he also dedicated time to serving on the board of trustees at Stonewall Columbus.

We sat down with each of our hosts for a pre-party chat to get to know them a bit better.

How does art move you?

SL: For me, art breaks down walls, demystifies stereotypes and above all, art has given me connections to so many new people! Art is a universal language – you don’t have to be fluent in Spanish to relate to Frida Kahlo or Picasso! Art also helps me to understand social issues and pushes me to question what I believe to be true.

JS: Every work of art has a back story: not only of the message that piece conveys to the observer, but also the effort and passion that went into its creation. I am moved by art when I consider everything that moved the artist to create it in the first place and each of the events that had to occur for that work and me to be in the same place at the same time.

GR: I love how art is so personal and subjective. There is nothing greater than walking through a museum and coming across something that unexpectedly fills you with emotion or evokes a memory, so I’m always excited to learn and explore new artists and art forms.

Why did you decide to partner with the Columbus Museum of Art on Wonderball?

SL: Because I love the work that CMA has been doing in the last few years. Their commitment to be more inclusive, not only on the exhibitions they’re showing but also the programs and experiences they are making available to our community truly enriches us all.

JS: I am proud to be affiliated with CMA and Wonderball because this event supports ground-breaking initiatives like Wonder School and Teen Open Studio, and specifically because Wonderball attracts such a wonderfully diverse cross-section of Columbus to the museum each year.

GR: I think Wonderball truly captures the spirit of the Columbus Museum of Art. I am so excited and honored to work with the museum to celebrate art, artists, local businesses in such a wonderful setting.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Wonderball?

SL: Who doesn’t love a good party?! I’m excited to see the performers and also what people are wearing. There’s so much creativity in Columbus!

JS: I am most looking forward to witnessing our guests’ “Wonder Face” each time they are confronted with something unexpected. We have worked hard to curate an evening that will be inviting and a lot of fun, and one that will also challenge our guests’ perception of what art is and can be.

GR: All of it! My first year attending Wonderball, I had such a great time as soon as I walked in the door, but that meant that I didn’t get a chance to truly go explore and experience the full event. The entire planning committee has done such a great job and I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Tickets are going fast for this not-to-be-missed celebration. 

Through (1/25): $125
At the Door (1/26): $135

Visit the Wonderball page for details and tickets.

– Lexi Sweet is public relations manager at Experience Columbus and a three-year member of the Wonderball marketing committee. Sweet is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.