“The idea that art is pretentious is crazy,” John Natsoulas is saying. “Art should never be pretentious or intimidating.” Natsoulas is standing out in front of his John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis. It’s safe to say that this gallery is anything but pretentious. It’s a cute little bungalow, somewhat expanded. Its immediate neighbor is a UC Davis frat house: There is a frat barbecue going on as Natsoulas speaks. Dominating the gallery’s front yard are two gigantic animal sculptures, “Roy the Dog” and “Calico Cat,” brilliantly colored, whimsical and not intimidating in the least. But that is Davis and surrounding Yolo County for you. Famed first for farming, then for UC Davis’ cutting-edge research programs, they have another trick up their sleeve: They are a rich and very user-friendly destination for art lovers, with some intriguing galleries, first-rate public art and a terrific new museum. See the Shrem A good place to start your Davis/Yolo art tour is at that new museum, the $30 million, 30,000-square-foot Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, which opened last fall. Set on the south edge of campus, the Shrem at a first glance resembles a Sacramento Valley agricultural… Read full this story
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