Saturday, October 10, 2015

Posted November 19, 2014in Art Pimp

Abstraction isn’t what it used to be

A number of exhibitions in Des Moines this month investigate a subject that has been dividing generations and offending traditionalists for a century — abstract art. The Des Moines Art Center’s “From Icon to Abstraction” recognizes the 100th anniversary of World War I by suggesting the possibility that abstract art

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Posted October 15, 2014in Art Pimp

Same subject, different points of view

A pair of current shows demonstrates similar subjects from very different points of view. Tom Jackson and Priscilla Steele have both been drawing the human form since the late 1960s. In 2008 they began drawing together in a group setting twice a week. That discipline created an intriguing examination of

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Posted September 17, 2014in Art Pimp

Galas in perspective

The Des Moines Art Center’s (DMAC) new exhibition “Art Meets Fashion” will likely become the grandest undertaking in that museum’s history, at least in number of events, money raised, community buzz, and number of volunteers involved. Yet it all began as a glorified garage sale. Ellen Hubbell, who is co-chair

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Posted August 20, 2014in Art Pimp

In pursuit of a memory

T-shirt wit suggests that art is populist: “Art just happens.” “Everyone is an artist.” “Release your inner artist.” This makes me wary. I took art classes as a kid and realized quickly that few people are blessed with the innate talent to translate visions into arresting art. In this non-judgmental

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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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