The Waiting Room: Beyond Our Control

In the Spring quarter of 2020, the interns in the AD&A Museum Internship Program were invited to curate online exhibitions utilizing the Museum’s Fine Arts Collection and Architecture & Design Collection. We are proud to present the work of guest curator Olivia Thompson, who is in her third year at UC Santa Barbara. Her major is Anthropology with an emphasis on Archaeology, and her minor is Museum Studies.

Puccinelli - one pillow

Keith Puccinell (b. United States, 1950 –2017), One Pillow, 2012, Ink and dirt on paper, 15 x 11 in., Estate of Frances Garvin and Keith Julius Puccinelli


Puccinelli - an apple a day

Keith Puccinelli (b. United States, 1950 –2017), An Apple A Day…(High School), 1968. Paint on board, 30 x 20 in. Estate of Frances Garvin and Keith Julius Puccinelli

In this topical exhibition, artists spanning from the seventeenth to twenty-first century explore themes of poverty, healthcare, and class struggle. Drawing upon inspiration spurred forth by the Covid-19 pandemic, The Waiting Room: Beyond Our Control provides commentary on centuries-old issues regarding societal attitudes and their ramifications on poor communities. Featuring drawings, collage, and sculptural painting, the exhibition utilizes loud color and abstract shapes to convey a somber theme. With so many people losing work and hospitals unable to care for all those affected by Covid-19, these artworks delve into the factors that feed into a cycle of lower-class individuals being denied crucial assistance and empathy. Artists such as Keith Puccinelli and David Amico dissect prevalent emotional reactions to poverty, including pity, compassion, and even disgust.

Keith Puccinelli (b. United States, 1950 –2017), Untitled (Follow the Money), 2010, Ink, spit, coffee and pencil on paper, 24 x 19 in. each, Estate of Frances Garvin and Keith Julius Puccinelli

These reactions precede modernity, evident in art stretching back across the centuries. The Waiting Room serves to address the timelessness of these opinions concerning poverty, in hopes of raising questions regarding the intersectional obstacles facing the poor and the lack of access to basic necessities that their class status creates. Every aspect of the artwork and exhibit design provides purposeful hints at this theme, while creating the environment of a medical waiting room, causing anxiety for many individuals due to the current state of global affairs. In light of the virus shutting down many aspects of life and taking away much of our personal autonomy, perhaps our transforming society will harness newfound respect for those who continually face complex struggles with finances, health, and sexual identity far beyond their control. For now, beholders may choose to sit in the metaphoric Waiting Room and ponder the reality of having one’s identity dictate their quality of life in the middle of this pandemic and beyond.

Amico - Untitled

David Amico (b. United States, b. 1951), Untitled, 1985, Oil on wood on canvas with bed springs, 108 x 72 in., Gift of Barry A. Berkus and Family


Wojnarowicz - Hunger
David Wojnarowicz (b. United States, 1954 –1992), Hunger, 1988, Acrylic and collage on canvas, 42 x 42 in., Gift of Robert H. Halff


Testa - Prodigal Son

Pietro Testa (b. Italy, ca. 1612-1650), The Prodigal Son Among the Swine, 1645, Engraving, 8 x 11 ¾ in., Ala Story Print Collection


Goudt - Jupiter and Mercury

Hendrick Goudt, after Adam Elsheimer(b. Germany, ca. 1583-1648), Jupiter and Mercury in the House of Philemon and Baucis, 1612, Engraving, 8 x 8 ⅝ in., Gift of Professor Alfred Moir
Title image: Keith Puccinelli (b. United States, 1950 –2017), God Bless, 1998, Ink on paper, 24 x 18 in. Estate of Frances Garvin and Keith Julius Puccinelli


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