The Sheldon Museum

The Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska is located on the University of Nebraska campus. Designed by Philip Johnson and build in 1963, it is an interesting space filled with art.

I hope you aren’t tired of Lincoln posts, yet.  Who knew there was so much to see there?

During my stay, I walked over to the campus one day to see the museum. The building itself is quite interesting. I especially like the ceiling and openness of the entryway which divides the museum into two halves. Another thing I like is that the admission is always free!

Sheldon Museum at University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Inside the Sheldon Museum

When I was visiting, there were several different photographic exhibitions, one by An-my Lê, entitled 29 Palms, and one called 15 Photographs, 15 Curators. I was somewhat familiar with An-my Lê’s work. The photographs were of military training sessions at the 29 Palms facility in California.

The 15 Photographs, 15 Curators was very interesting as the museum had invited 15 faculty, staff and students of the university to chose one photograph from the museum’s collection of nearly 3,000 photographs and to write a personal response to it. It was interesting to read why they chose certain photographs.

(An aside: During the SAQA conference, the Sheldon Museum curator was on one of the panel discussions I attended and it was interesting to hear him say that because they are a non-profit organization, they can be more creative in the exhibitions they put together without having to worry about how it will affect admissions.) 

This photograph you probably recognize, as it is the famous photograph taken by Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression.

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California by Dorothea Lange.

I found the next one by Ansel Adams interesting because there is a structure in it. When I think of Ansel Adams, I usually think of pristine landscapes without the influence of humanity.


Ranch House Near Carson City, Nevada, Winter by Ansel Adams


Another gallery had an interesting selection of works from their permanent collection.


Galleries in the Sheldon Museum


Below is a screen print by Joseph Albers. The artist is well-known for his color studies.


Formulation: Articulation, Portfolio II, Folder 28 by Joseph Albers

This next piece by Polly Apfelbaum is created with inkjet printing (with dyes) on synthetic velvet. It is hard to photograph the texture of the piece.


Seeing Spots by Polly Apfelbaum


Here you can kind of see the sheen of the velvet fabric.


Detail of Seeing Spots

I am always attracted to black and white linocut or woodcut prints. This is one by Aaron Douglas. The artist was commissioned to create a series of woodcuts used as illustrations for Eugene O’Neill’s drama, Emperor Jones.


Defiance by Aaron Douglas


This next artwork by Hadieh Shafie, entitled, Cadmium Yellow, Naphthol Red and Ultramarine Blue, 1/1, is mesmerizing. The artist painted the edges of commercially cut strips of white paper and wrote the Persian word eshgh, which means “love/passion,” on them. Then, they were rolled up into different sized spools and placed in the circle.


Cadmium Yellow, Naphthol Red and Ultramarine Blue, 1/1 by Hadieh Shafie

Here’s a close-up of the edge of the piece where you can see some of the writing.


Detail of Hadieh Shafie’s art.

It looks like these exhibitions have already been replaced. You can find the Sheldon Museum’s current exhibitions listed on the website. I would like to see the nonObjectives exhibition, but I won’t be going back to Lincoln anytime soon.



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