Dewey Crumpler’s ‘shipping container’ exhibit sails into Richmond Art Center

Dewey Crumpler’s ‘shipping container’ exhibition sails into Richmond Art Center
Dewey Crumpler, Untitled 1, 2017. Courtesy of the Artist

By Kathy Chouteau

In a Bay Area first, the Richmond Art Center (RAC) will feature Dewey Crumpler: Crossings, an exhibition of more than 120 works that ask us to “consider the history, lived legacy and future impact of the global shipping industry,” stated organizers.

The exhibition runs in the RAC’s Main gallery from April 7 through June 4, 2022. An opening reception will be held Sat., April 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and an Artist’s Talk will happen Sat., April 23, from 1-2 p.m. The exhibition and related events are free and open to the public.

Crumpler’s exhibition was originally scheduled for spring 2020, but was postponed for two years due to the pandemic, per the RAC. The art center said that during this time his shipping containers have become even more prophetic “predicting the collapse of globalism and events that continue to shape the first decades of the 21st century.”

The exhibition will feature Crumpler’s works over 25 years ranging from sketches to large-scale paintings. His Bayview roots first spurred his interest in ports, particularly shipping containers and their substantial shapes, per the RAC. Earlier in his career, he frequently sketched plein air along the waterfront.

The RAC noted that, in Crumpler’s work, “Shipping containers are dense metaphors; encompassing stories of mass migration, transformation and voyages destined to be repeated,” adding that they “trace transatlantic trade routes that emerged in the 15th century and are still used today” and also show industry that has shaped port cities like San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond. “Through connecting historical and contemporary systems, time in Crumpler’s work becomes a loop of rebirth and decline pressed forward through the crossing of water.”

According to the artist, “At the heart of these works is memory.”

Dewey Crumpler: Crossings is organized with assistance from Marguerite Thompson Browne, according to the RAC. Dewey Crumpler is an associate professor of painting at San Francisco Art Institute; learn more about him here.

The RAC is located at 2540 Barrett Ave. in Richmond. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info, contact Exhibitions Director Amy Spencer at [email protected] or click here.