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Art News

New years in September

9/6/2023

Mary Jones, “Farfarello,” 16 inches by 12 inches acrylic and collage on panel.

One person’s new year is another’s equinox. The calendar new year comes with January, the fiscal new year in July, the farmer’s in March or April. In the art world, the new year begins in September, like the football season and the school year. 

Some, including Picasso, say that’s because artists are children who never grow up. It more likely has its roots in the time before air conditioning when the donors to the fine arts on the east coast fled the heat of summer for the beaches, mountains and lakes. The arts aestivated.

Since air conditioning, the art season schedule has created second seasons for organizations like Des Moines Metro Opera, which take advantage of the talent available when the major companies are summering. 

But the real arts year in Des Moines begins in September. Des Moines Symphony is back from COVID in a big way. Their Labor Day weekend concerts brought the world’s top ABBA imitation band to Water Works Park, from Sweden of course. Later this month, the new season opens with one of the world’s great violinists and her famous violin. 

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Anne Akiko Meyers made headlines when a unique 1741 “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesu was given to her on lifetime loan. One of the most important violins ever made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, it belonged to legendary violinist Henri Vieuxtemps during the 19th century and is considered to be one of the finest violins in existence for its luxuriant sound and mint state of preservation. 

Meyers also has a prodigy who has performed with her since she was 9. We asked DMSO maestro Joseph Giunta if Meyers will bring her famous daughter and violin to town. “The daughter will have begun her school year and will not be here,” he said. 

Meyers will feature in a “Fandango” concert of Iberian, Russian and Mexican music including Arturo Márquez’s “Fandango.” With the average hotel room in New York City passing $400/night and the city inexplicably shutting down most B&Bs, DMSO season tickets are a great value for music lovers. Besides, the Met is not playing a single classic opera this year. 

Brunnier Art Gallery at Iowa State opened its new season last week with four new shows. “Future Unfolding” is the most enticing. It features the cameo engravings of April Surgent. This technique is usually employed by jewelers working in multiple colors. Surgent uses it on layers of colored glass. “Extravagant Dining: Glass Epergnes from the Collection of Dorothy Todd Kent” is self-explanatory, emphasis on extravagant. “Pulped Under Pressure” reveals several papermaking artists using similar, exotic technique. “Industrial Design” studies a century-old movement that some called the American Bauhaus. All four shows will exhibit through Dec. 17. 

Moberg Gallery has a show, “On Edge,” through Oct. 6. Several gallery artists brought new work — Andrew Abbott, Georgi Andonov, Patrick Duegaw, William Downs, Electric Coffin, Loren Holland, Juliane Hundertmark, Thomas C. Jackson, Mary Jones, Larassa Kabel, David Rose, Alexandre Shiffer, Bart Vargas, and Aaron Wilson and Tim Dooley.

Olson Larsen has its second show in its new home just north of the Valley Junction strip — “Contoured Color,” a group show featuring women artists who work with abstract shapes and bold colors. Laura Berman, Sharon Booma, Jen P. Harris, Kristen Martincic, Jeanine Coupe Ryding and Susan Chrysler White contribute. That plays through Oct. 7. 

Prairie Meadows held a two-day art show in August with the rock and roll photos of May Pang. Mostly they show the Beatles and friends. Music producer Pang was John Lennon’s lover on his 18-month “Lost Weekend.” The show was delightful and nostalgic. Good idea Prairie Meadows. Casinos in Vegas and Macau have art shows; why not Altoona? ♦

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