Six Valley artists are currently featured in the Anchorage Museum’s Alaska Biennial 2020 exhibit, which can be observed in person or online through April 4. Their work can be seen with 125 other pieces of art from across the state, collating into a “snapshot” of the contemporary landscape.
“It’s really intended to be a sort of snapshot of what’s going on in the contemporary art scene in Alaska right now,” Anchorage Museum Chief Curator, Francesca Du Brock said. “It made it kind of a really exuberant, big, colorful, fun Biennial this year.”
Every two years, the Anchorage Museum calls for contemporary art submissions over various mediums that explore Alaska’s history, people, landscapes, and everything in between.
“We look forward to people hopefully having the chance to see some of their neighbors’ artwork in person,” Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Program, Ryan Kenny said.
The Anchorage Museum received over 400 submissions from over 120 artists from across the state. Most artists submitted three works for consideration for one piece to be chosen. They narrowed down the final submissions to 125 works that met the exhibition criteria.
“This is one of the largest versions of the exhibition that we’ve done,” Kenny said.
This year’s submissions covered many mediums of art, including drawing, painting, mixed media, craft, jewelry, fiber art, visual art, metalsmithing, printmaking, encaustic, ceramic, book/paper arts, photography and sculpture.
“You take a place as big as Alaska, all the artists that are making work in the state and you’re gonna have a pretty eclectic mix of work,” Du Brock said.
The Anchorage Museum has held the Biennial exhibition under various titles and versions for over three decades to serve as a platform that celebrates Alaskan artists while encouraging others to create new works and submit them for review.
“There’s always some new and upcoming artists that participate, which is great to see,” Kenny said.
The Biennial has been organized by the Anchorage Museum under various titles and forms for more than three decades as a way to celebrate the work of Alaska artists and to encourage the creation of new works.
Du Brock said she was impressed with the Valley’s submissions, saying that they tied in well with the Alaskan art tapestry that formed from expressive and passionate artists.
“Within those six artists, there was a lot of diversity of material… They were great,” Du Brock said. “Once it’s all installed together in the exhibitions… When you have that much work, it just kind of works together… the varying levels of finish and approach ends up blending and looking really good altogether.”
Du Brock said that opportunities like this support the state’s creative community as a whole.
“I think it’s super important. I think a big part of being an artist is being in dialogue with ideas and other makers of your time,” Du Brock said.
Those who can’t come to the Anchorage Museum in person can still view the Biennial exhibition by viewing a full 360 degree view of each section. Kenny said they’ve offered similar online tours before the pandemic, but they’ve increased their online presence to maintain their connection to the public.
“This is pretty new for us. We’re fortunate to have really talented people on staff,” Kenny said.
The museum was closed during the spring as well as the month of December due to the pandemic. Kenny said they’ve been working together to overcome the various challenges, and have been successfully navigating through the ever changing situation.
“It’s been a difficult year, a challenging year… We’re all in it together, and we’re trying to provide opportunities for people to engage with each other,” Kenny said.
Those visiting in person are required to maintain six feet and wear masks. Kenny said they have several hand sanitization stations throughout the building. He said the sheer amount of space greatly aids their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“We are optimistic for what we hope is a better year than last year in some ways. We’re excited to share new stories and new content and new exhibitions…” Kenny said.
The exhibition has been on view at the Anchorage Museum since Nov. 6, 2020 and runs through April 4, 2021.
For more information, call 907-929-9200 or visit anchoragemuseum.org.