Friday, July 25, 2014

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Posted July 16, 2014in Art Pimp

Holy books and chewing gum vaginas

“From Speaker to Receiver,” the Des Moines Art Center’s big summer exhibition, takes its title from linguistic theorist Roman Jakobson’s writings on semiotics and language. Curator Gilbert Vicario explains its purpose is to explore “how contemporary artists use language as a platform for the examination and critique of authoritative and

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Posted June 18, 2014in Art Pimp

The good old days of the Great Depression

Last week’s Iowa Arts Summit was the biggest event of its kind in my memory. First Lady Chris Branstad presented awards and scholarships. Our daily paper covered it with multiple stories and an editorial. Delegates left with the confidence of acknowledgment. Richard Florida’s relentless advocates had conquered Iowa. Florida published

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Posted May 14, 2014in Art Pimp

Sparkling new jewel in Sculpture Park

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park received an early present as its fifth birthday approaches this September. Olafur Eliasson joined a list of 21 other celebrated artists in Western Gateway Park with a ceremony commemorating the installation of his “Panoramic Awareness Pavilion.” Olafur is a very big deal. The

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Posted April 16, 2014in Art Pimp

Big birthdays for venerable institutions

This April in Des Moines, two venerable art institutions reached significant milestones with style. Civic Music Association (CMA) dropped the baton last week on its 90th anniversary season with a solid mix of memory and desire. Mrs. Elsa Neumann, Mrs. Sam Shloss and Mrs. Arthur Cowles were commemorated for deciding

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Posted March 19, 2014in Art Pimp

Jesper Just explores female travel

Filmmaker Jesper Just is a Københavner now living in New York’s East Village. The five films in his Des Moines Art Center exhibition “Jesper Just: This Is a Landscape of Desire,” were sho t in Denmark, Paris, Detroit and California. Like all travelers with cameras, he shoots what intrigues him.

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Posted February 19, 2014in Art Pimp

Then there were giants

Olson-Larsen Galleries’ current exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints by Byron Burford, Jules Kirschenbaum and Cornelis Ruhtenberg is a homage to three of Iowa’s greatest painters of the 20th century. Walking through this show on opening night, I overheard a wistful conversation that ended: “They don’t make painters like them

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Posted January 15, 2014in Art Pimp

Magritte’s apples and Cezanne’s oranges

Omaha is Des Moines’ great rival. The two cities have long battled for low fare airlines, parimutuel gamblers and amateur hockey titles. They share much in common. Both towns have been kissed by extraordinary corporate success. That has translated into healthy cultural scenes. An examination of towns’ artistic characters distinguishes

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Posted December 18, 2013in Art Pimp

The year of the really big show

This year has treated Des Moines’ art fans to grand-scale exhibitions. At the Des Moines Art Center, “Transparencies” gathered 10 artists from five countries whose works explored glass as both a subject matter and medium; “Phyllida Barlow: Scree” delivered 27 monumental tons of magic stuff; and “Gravity and Grace: Monumental

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Posted November 20, 2013in Art Pimp

The nomad’s dazzling mysticism

El Anatsui, a Ghanaian born, Ewe-speaking man of the world, showed up for his media interview in Des Moines wearing a black suit, white shirt and athletic shoes as green as a Nigerian soccer jersey with bright red trim and large treads. “So now I won’t fall down,” he explained.

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Posted October 16, 2013in Art Pimp

Glories of the prairie and fall

September was packed with the pop art of capitalism, an Anderson Gallery exhibition of vinyl record album covers and a Faulconer show featuring the art of supermarket aisles. October seems to be reverting to more elemental subjects. The Ankeny Art Center’s “Wonders of the Tallgrass Prairie,” featuring works of Gary

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