Tools as Art: The Hechinger Collection

Saturday, January 14 through Sunday, February 19

Everyday objects are transformed into spectacular works of art in this unusual collection that purposefully celebrates the dignity of common tools and the intrinsic beauty of their design. Collected over the last 30 years by the late John Hechinger, descendant of the pioneer East Coast hardware store family, this unique display includes leading twentieth and twenty-first century masters and emerging artists. While often linking form and function, these artists also illustrate the elegance, beauty and even humor found in common tools. Some of the works celebrate the dignity of manual labor, the ingenuity of the do-it-yourself spirit and the travails of home repair.

Among the artists in the exhibition are Arman, Berenice Abbot, Ray Beldner, Roy Carruthers, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Howard Finster, Hans Godo Fräbel, Red Grooms, Fernand Léger, Richard Estes, Wayne Thiebaud, and William T. Wiley. Media include wood, metal, and glass sculpture, actual tools and paintings, constructions, works on paper and photographs.

Lecture: A Brief Conversation About Tools
Ray Beldner
Sunday, 2 to 3 p.m., January 15, Soda Activity Center
Reception following lecture, Art Room 105

Ray Beldner, M.F.A., will speak about his work and the Hechinger Collection, in the Soda Activity Center, followed by a public reception in the Brother Kyran Room. Ray Beldner is a sculptor and new media artist whose work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally and can be found in many public and private collections including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Oakland Museum of California, and the di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California. Beldner taught sculpture and interdisciplinary studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of Art before becoming a professor of art at Saint Mary's College. He also manages Gallery 160, a new exhibition space located in the Art Department, that displays works by art majors, visiting artists and contemporary Bay Area artists.

St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery of Napa Valley generously sponsors reception wines.

Exhibition Videography

The following films, which will be on view in the Gallery, have been selected to put into context many of the most significant works in the exhibition. The film on the Pop Art movement will be featured during the opening reception on Sunday, January 15.

  • Jacob Lawrence: An Intimate Portrait, looks into the life and work of the prominent African-American artist through interviews with the artist, his family, colleagues and critics.
  • Claes Oldenburg, offers a revealing look at one of the foremost exponents of Pop Art.
  • Pop Art: The Test of the Object, explores the birth of consumer society and the American way of life, which led to the movement. Several of the artists in the exhibition are profiled. This exhibition has been organized by International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, with the collaboration of Sarah Tanguy, Curator of The Hechinger Collection.