Thursday, January 19, 2017

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Posted March 16, 2016in Art Pimp

Artistic hubris plus lawyers

Art depends upon the hubris of artists. For much of history, the tyranny of religion made the very idea of portraying a holy image so risky that only the bravest, most confident artists would dare. It’s still that way if the artist’s subject has anything to do with the Koran.

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Posted February 24, 2016in Art Pimp

The enduring and the ephemeral

Two exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center demonstrate polar qualities of art — the enduring and the ephemeral. “Arts & Letters,” through May 1 in the Anna Meredith Gallery, explores connections between literature and the visual arts. Some 70 works come from more than 500 centuries of art-making and

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Posted January 20, 2016in Art Pimp

The original selfie

Alexander Korda’s 1936 film “Rembrandt” ends with Charles Laughton, looking remarkably like a Rembrandt self-portrait, winking at the camera and saying, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” That is from Ecclesiastes and refers to an archaic definition of the Latin word “vanitas” as “futility.” Skull-obsessed Dutch and Flemish still life

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Posted December 23, 2015in Art Pimp

Restorations, expansions and horrors

Renaissance and expansion dominated the local art scene in 2015. The most impressive new architectural achievements were restorations. American Enterprise Group (AEG) reopened its historic Sixth Avenue headquarters thanks to a package of incentives put together by city and the state organizations. Some $30 million later, a fully restored Gordon

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Posted November 18, 2015in Art Pimp

Red Fox out of hibernation

Bill Ludwig is a well-known architect but a little-known artist. He says his heart was always in art, but after nearly earning a fine arts degree at Iowa State in the 1960s, he switched to architecture to make a living. “I took every arts course I could, everything from ceramics

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Posted October 21, 2015in Art Pimp, Featured Story

Three new shows

Moberg Gallery opened an exhibit of the works of Gary Kelley, TJ Moberg, Derrick Breidenthal and Midwest Pressed. Kelley’s paintings usually hang around with historical figures of American history, Greek mythology world art, agriculture, blues and jazz. At exhibitions, people work hard to identify all the famous people in some

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Posted September 16, 2015in Art Pimp, Featured Story

Iowa finds its niche

Some geographical coincidences are odd enough to make people wonder about genetic connections or if there’s “something in the water.” How else can you explain the number of baseball’s greatest hitters who came out of southern Alabama (Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Billy Williams, etc.) or great chefs from eastern Alsace

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Posted August 19, 2015in Art Pimp

Sixth Avenue renaissance

Earlier this decade, rumors floated that American Enterprise Group (AEG) might leave its historic Sixth Avenue headquarters and move to the western suburbs. Des Moines City Councilwoman Christine Hensley recalled the reaction to that news among downtown chauvinists. “They weren’t admitting it, but I knew it was true. We had

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Posted July 15, 2015in Art Pimp

Road trip!

Kansas City museums are all in this summer with remarkable exhibitions targeted at specific interests. The magnificently restored Union Station (the nation’s second-largest train terminal after Grand Central in New York) has partnered with the National Football League Hall of Fame to present the same shows as that Ohio museum.

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Posted June 17, 2015in Art Pimp

What’s next for Des Moines?

The Des Moines Social Club celebrated its first anniversary in its permanent home recently. Nearly 10,000 people showed up one night as part of that anniversary. The next day the organization’s impresario and visionary announced his resignation as director. It was a remarkably well-timed decision. Zach Mannheimer moved to Des

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