Sunday, July 24, 2016

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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Posted May 27, 2015in Art Pimp

Changing attitudes

Fiber Sculpture 1960-Present, at the Des Moines Art Center (DMAC) through Aug. 2, includes contributions from 32 artists from four continents. Reassembled painstakingly in three different galleries at the DMAC, it is, with only a couple of exceptions, the same material that first played at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.

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Posted April 15, 2015in Art Pimp

The Messenger

The Des Moines Art Center recently brought Nick Cave to town for a public conversation. An overflow turnout at Levitt Auditorium made one wonder if some folks thought it was Nick Cave the rock star from Australia instead of Nick Cave the artist, fashion professor and self-described “messenger” from Chicago.

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Posted March 18, 2015in Art Pimp

Celtic lore and much more

Irish folklore from the pre-Christian era of bards and heroes has never been well served. Most of its literature was handed down orally, so few written records endured. Because the subject matter — giant family trees of superhuman creatures — was complicated, it never lent well to other forms of

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Posted February 18, 2015in Art Pimp

Allusions to the horror

“Field, Road, Cloud: Art and Africa,” at the Des Moines Art Center through April 19, takes its title from the works of Alfredo Jaar, an artist from Chile, one of the whitest nations on earth. That alone challenges politically correct academic criticism that rejects showings of African art in contemporary

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Posted January 14, 2015in Art Pimp

Art Never Loots

On a cold Friday night in mid January, some 150 people crowded into a warehouse garage on the east side. The attraction was a one-night art show by Jordan Weber and Mitchell Squire. Weber’s installation included a rusty police car sitting in a large puddle. Spotlights dramatized that one side

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Posted December 17, 2014in Art Pimp

A very good year with more to come

The close of 2014 happened with a flurry of architectural promise. Demolition began on a several Ingersoll area buildings to make way for Des Moines’ first Fresh Market, a Whole Foods-like chain from Carolina. Kemin announced a handsome new headquarters in east Des Moines. The venerable buildings that housed The

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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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