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Strasburg art museum unveils new exhibit

Rupert Ravens, director of the Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Art, stands inside this group of art pieces that are part of "The River Between Us" exhibit at the East King Street Museum in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG — The Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Art has opened its newest exhibit.

Titled “The River Between Us,” this new exhibit is serving as the museum’s first “biennial,” which is an art show that is held every two years. The exhibit features paintings, photos, sculptures and more from 41 artists located around the world at over three locations in Strasburg: the museum at 411 E. King St., the old water treatment plant at 388 W. Queen St., and the Strasburg Town Hall Gallery at 174 E. King St.

Rupert Ravens, who serves as the founder, director, and chief curator of the museum, said he wants people to have an experience when they come to see the exhibit.

“You don’t have to know about art history or have to know how to make art to have an experience,” Ravens said. “It’s much like when you go to a movie. You don’t need to know the history of cinema to enjoy a movie. This is experience-based, and that’s what I want to present to the people here in Strasburg.”

The exhibit features several pieces of art from such artists as Yoko Ono and China Blue. Ravens said he likes to have a lot of variety in the art that is shown at the museum.

Nina Levy's piece titled "Toss" (2006) hangs from the ceiling inside the Museum of Contemporary Art. The artwork is made of polyester resin, stainless steel, oil paint, and rope. Rich Cooley/Daily

“I like to balance the works out,” Ravens said.

This is the museum’s second major exhibit after its first one, “Unlatched,” ran in April. Ravens said the museum is planning another show in the early part of 2019.

Since the “River Between Us” exhibit’s opening in August, it has faced some controversy, notably German Pitre’s paintings with the American flag and the Confederate flag.

“We live in a very divisive time,” Ravens said. “People see those and they immediately want to lash out. People lashed out on Facebook without coming in and seeing the piece. They saw a photo of it.”

Ravens encourages people who have issues or who don’t understand the art to come to the museum.

“I’ll give them a tour, and I’ll talk to them about the artists and their work,” he said.

Aside from “The River Between Us” exhibit, the museum will also host an event on Saturday during the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Festival. The event will have master painter Steve McKenzie create a 100-foot community print. Ravens said Strasburg residents are encouraged to bring photographs of what they feel are iconic images of Strasburg. The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at the Strasburg Firehouse.

“If people have an icon, bring it out and we’ll include it,” Ravens said.

More Information

For more information on the exhibit or the museum, visit shenmoca.org.

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