Sunday, March 26, 2017

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Posted May 25, 2016in Art Pimp

Glenn Brown — past is prologue

    “The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.”  — William Faulkner   “Glenn Brown” opened at the Des Moines Art Center last week and plays through August 28. Four years in preparation, this is the first USA exhibition by the English artist who was part of the Damien

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Posted April 20, 2016in Art Pimp

Gone to look for America

  Losing gamblers like to say it’s “better to be lucky than good.” Actuarial scientists, who have refined the business of odds making, prefer saying “luck is short term.” It’s best to be lucky AND good. Thomas Jackson is both. Before the Cedar River flooded Cedar Rapids in 2008, Jackson

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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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