Upcoming Exhibitions

Winter 2024 Exhibitions
February 3-June 30, 2024
Opening Reception February 2, 2024
Fig Garden Gallery
Curator: Georgia Museum of Art

Drawn from the permanent collection of the Georgia Museum of Art, this exhibition of 27 woodblock prints by some of the most influential and well-known ukiyo-e artists explores the culture of luxury and pleasure-seeking that reigned during Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868).

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art that was popular from the 16th to 19th centuries. The work ukiyo originally expressed the Buddhist concept of the transitory nature of life, but during the Edo period it came to mean embracing the joy of life and its “fleeting pleasures.” The word translates as “to float” and ukiyo-e literally means “pictures of the floating world.”

The Edo Period, when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate, was a time of economic prosperity. The merchant class enjoyed a level of affluence previously unknown to them, and they turned their attention to the extravagant luxuries and pleasures that they could now afford.

Woodcuts have been an integral part of Japanese art since 770 CE and were commonly available. In 17th-century Japan, people began buying them in great numbers as they were easily affordable. Traditionally, only the elite were represented in Japanese art, but artists began producing images of more everyday things such as beautiful courtesans and geishas, kabuki actors, and romantic landscapes. For the first time, artists were inspired by the interests of the common people. The prints were mass-marketed, and by the mid-19th century the circulation of the prints ran into the thousands. Prior to World War II, ukiyo-e prints were not considered items of great value because of their abundance, but following the war, they were embraced as an important element of Japanese culture, influential on the history of art, and as valuable works of art in their own right.

Organized by the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, this program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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The Art of Selling Bubblegum: Bowman Trading Cards 1933-1955
Presented by the American Baseball Card Museum
Duncan and Hallowell Galleries
Curators: Jeff Jaech and FAM Curator Sarah Vargas
Trading cards are works of art—drawings, photographs, and colorized photographs—with a commercial purpose. Soon after bubble gum was invented in 1928, Warren Bowman’s Gum, Inc. dominated the market with its “Blony” brand bubble gum. For decades before, cigarette and candy companies had included trading cards with their products. In the 1930s, Gum, Inc. began slipping a trading card in every penny Blony wrapper. With authentic samples from all 49 trading card sets produced by the Bowman companies, this exhibition explores American culture and art reflected in the cards as influenced by the Great Depression, the gangster era, the international conflicts preceding World War II, the Korean War, the beginnings of the Cold War, and the evolution from radio to television. This exhibit also illustrates the improvements in the artwork and printing processes over Bowman’s 22-year history ending in 1955.

In early 1956, Bowman Gum was acquired by the increasingly competitive Topps Gum Company, and so ended the Bowman brand until Topps revived it in 1989. The exhibition consists of over 400 trading cards in 47 framed wall displays and a small display of related items.

The American Baseball Card Museum is a tax-exempt organization dedicated to promoting the study and appreciation of American culture, history, and art through baseball cards.


John Willheim: Secret War Photographer
Lobby and Concourse Galleries
Curator: FAM Curator Sarah Vargas

As the chaos of the Vietnam War dominated American news, another shadow war was being fought. Since the 1950s, the United States had been involved in Laos where communism had begun to take hold, with forces backed by North Vietnam. In the early 1960s, CIA officers allied with Hmong groups who were already fighting against the communist-led Laotian governmental forces. The Hmong, a tribal people from the mountainous Plain of Jars region in north-central Laos, amassed a force that grew to 39,000 guerilla fighters backed by the CIA. The Hmong fought for their land and their livelihood, but the goal of the CIA was destroying communist supply lines between Laos and Vietnam and tying down North Vietnamese forces. Between 1964 and 1973, the United States dropped 2 million tons of bombs on Laos—more than were dropped on Germany and Japan combined during World War II. Yet this was known as “The Secret War;” it was an entirely covert paramilitary operation that was unknown to the general public. This CIA operation is the largest clandestine operation in the agency’s history. The U.S. pulled out of Laos in 1973. Tens of thousands of Hmong fled to neighboring Thailand to later emigrate to France, Germany, and the United States.

John Willheim was already an established photographer when he joined the CIA and was chosen by the agency to enter the region and document the Secret War. His photographs were classified for decades, seen only by top American intelligence officials and the President. These images document the everyday life of the people and the landscape, as well as the brutal reality of war. One of the most documented figures is a young General Vang Pao (1929-2011), the venerated leader of the Hmong forces. Now that these powerful images are unclassified, this exhibition marks their first public viewing. A resident of Southern California, Willheim chose Fresno, with its large Hmong community with strong ties to the Secret War, as the ideal place to unveil these images to the public.


Moradian Gallery
Curator: FAM Curator Sarah Vargas

From the Permanent Collection, the Fresno Art Museum is proud to present June Wayne: The Dorothy Series.

In the mid-1970s, artist June Wayne (b. 1918) began a project documenting the life of her mother, Dorothy Kline. The resulting 20 lithographs use photographs, personal documents, and artifacts to create an intimate portrait of a hard-working and independent woman dealing with the challenges of the early half of the 20th century. Her experiences as an immigrant, a divorcée, a single mother, and a working woman are lovingly explored by her daughter in this visual biography. Though this project was deeply personal to Wayne, it narrates a universal story of perseverance that will resonate with many.

June Wayne was the Fresno Art Museum’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist for 1988, the year the award program started.

Permanent Collection (Permanent Exhibition + Rotating Collection Items)
Admin Lobby
Continuing Exhibition:
Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son
Featuring Author and Illustrator John Parra
Contemporary Gallery
Curator: Susan Yost Filgate