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Cover Story

Fall Arts & Entertainment- Art


El Anatsui’s “Gravity and Grace,” 2010, made of aluminum and copper wire, 145 5/8-by-441 inches, is on display at the Akron Art Museum, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.  Photo by Andrew McAllister. Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum

El Anatsui’s “Gravity and Grace,” 2010, made of aluminum and copper wire, 145 5/8-by-441 inches, is on display at the Akron Art Museum, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Photo by Andrew McAllister. Courtesy of the Akron Art Museum

For Iowa’s art scene, autumn is the sobering, back-to-work season that follows carefree summers of big festivals and light entertainments. This year’s fall calendar supports such sobriety with a preponderance of big shows. The Des Moines Art Center will follow up its monumental installation of English artist Phylidda Barlow with another monumental installation by Ghanaian El Anatsui. The gallery scene includes the return of two of Iowa’s heaviest, big subject painters Larassa Kabel and Mark Kline Misol, both at Moberg, plus new gravity-defying visions of Michael Brangoccio at Olson-Larsen. 

For levity, fall also brings annual celebrations and fall studio tours with one of arty Winneshiek County highlighting that genre. The world’s largest quilt show returns to the Iowa Events Center, and the Octagon Center celebrates its 43rd annual Arts Festival.



Recurring Events and Family Attractions

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

Thursday Night Art Walks in downtown Newton

First Friday Art Walks, Fairfield Town Square and East Village of Des Moines


Special Events

Sept. 22 — Octagon Arts Festival. Main Street Cultural District in downtown Ames, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Learn more at This 43rd annual event remains free to the public.

Oct. 11-13 — Northeast Iowa Artists Studio Tour. Iowa’s original art studio tour takes place around Decorah’s autumn majesty, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, thanks to Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more details call 800-463-4692, or visit

Oct. 2-5 — “American Quilt Society’s Quilt Week.” The biggest quilt show in the nation returns to Des Moines. Taking over the Iowa Events Center, the event will feature more than 1,000 quilts, a Merchant Mall, the newest quilt-making supplies and other quilt-related gifts. Learn all about it at Admission at the door is $11.




Art Dive, 1417 Walnut St., Des Moines’ original alternative gallery plans alternative exhibitions. Be surprised.

Fluxx, 333 E. Grand Ave., Fluxx is in flux. Keep up through Fluxx Gallery’s Facebook page.

2AU, 200 Fifth St., West Des Moines: Beach boys of Ipanema and mermaids of Tahiti mix it up with Tanzanian gems this summer.

Des Moines Social Club, 400 Walnut St., 288-3672, Circus, wrestling, tai chi, akido, theater, belly dancing and other acts of sociability make the club the most eclectic venue in town.

Kavanaugh Gallery, 131 Fifth St., West Des Moines, 279-8682, Specializing in purchase estate collections, there’s no telling what you might find here.

Susan Noland Studio Gallery, 902 42nd  St.: The psychological properties of gems are front and center in this master goldsmith’s repertoire.


Limited Engagements

Olson-Larsen Galleries, 203 Fifth St., West Des Moines,

Michael Brangoccio’s “Sotto Voce,” acrylic on canvas, 31-by-93 inches, will be on display by the end of the year at Olsen-Larson Gallery.

Michael Brangoccio’s “Sotto Voce,” acrylic on canvas, 31-by-93 inches, will be on display by the end of the year at Olsen-Larson Gallery.

Through Aug. 30 — “Works on Paper” by Richard Black, Joel Elgin, Paula Schuette Kraemer, Johanna Mueller, Larry Welo and Amy Worthen.

Sept. 6-Oct. 5 — “New Works” by painter Tim Frerichs, natural materials artist Lee Emma Running and assemblage creator Gary Olson.

Oct. 11-Nov. 29 — “New Works” by painters Karen Chesterman and Sharon Booma and photographer Peter Feldstein. Opening night coincides with Valley Junction’s big gallery night.

Dec. 26-Jan. 25 — “New and Small Works Show” by big idea painters Michael Brangoccio and Wendy Rolfe.


Moberg Art Gallery, 2921 Ingersoll Ave.,

“Tommy Boy,” by Larassa Kabel, is colored pencil on paper and will be on display at Moberg Gallery in September.

“Tommy Boy,” by Larassa Kabel, is colored pencil on paper and will be on display at Moberg Gallery in September.

Through Aug. 31 — “Four Solos.” Jordan Weber’s Gustonesque paintings treat heavy subjects, such as race and drug addiction, to a dark lightness. Chicago painters Lynn Basa and Sandra Perlow and Iowa City photographer Stephanie Brunia also show.

Sept. 6-Oct. 19 — “Larassa Kabel.” Des Moines’ super realist painter exhibits her own work and acts as curator for a show of her favorite works by other gallery artists.

Oct. 25-Nov. 30 — “Mary Kline Misol.” The inimitable Kline-Misol returns with her latest meditations on historical subjects, literary genius and the darkness of the woods.

Dec. 6-Jan. 30 — “New Works by Bill Luchsinger and Karen Strohbeen.” Creating their first prints in 1970, Luchsinger and Strohbeen were digital print-making pioneers, even before David Hockney made that cool. The exhibit will showcase new work on paper, canvas, ceramic tile, and who knows what else?


Steven Vail Fine Arts, 500 E. Locust St., 309-2763,

Through Nov. 1 — “Vicious Circles.” Meditations of roundness by Antony Gormley, Tara Donavan, John Simon, Ross Bleckner, Dzine, James Siena, Deborah Kass, Terry Winters, John Armleder, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Sam Gilliam, John Tremblay and Judy Pfaff. This show was highly praised by national and international media.

Late November-2014 — “Bernar Venet:  large scale etchings.” French conceptualism. 


Steven Vail Fine Arts Project Room, Historic Packing and Provision Building, 118 E. College St., Iowa City, 319-248-9443

Mid-September — “Art et Architecture.” A group exhibition featuring works by Andre Komatsu, Guillermo Kuitca, Vito Acconci, Matthew McCaslin, Tom Slaughter, Richard Meier, James Casebere, Richard Tuttle, Antony Gormley, Buckminster Fuller, Eileen Gray, Victor Vasarely and Sol LeWitt.

Early November — “John CRASH Matos: Paintings and Prints.” Retrospective of the man who launched the graffiti movement in the 1980s.


Octagon Center for the Arts, 427 Douglas Ave., Ames,

Through Sept. 1 — “Hugo Kenemer.”                

Through Oct. 22 — “Community of Artists Juried Exhibit.”

Sept. 7-Oct. 6 — “Portrait Studio Interactive Exhibit.”

Oct. 1-Dec. 30 — “20th Anniversary Feinberg Mask Collection Exhibit.”

Oct. 19-Dec. 22 — “Keri Ippolito.”

Nov. 8-Dec. 22 — “Iowa Pastel Society.”

Nov. 8-Dec. 1 — “Silent Auction Exhibit.”


Heritage Art Gallery, 111 Court Ave.,

Through Sept. 5 — “Iowa Exhibited.” The 28th annual show.



Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave.,

Through Sept. 22 — “Phyllida Barlow: Scree.” Bigger-than-life installation by this great English artist. Barlow also acted as curator for a show of her favorite pieces from the Art Center’s collection. 

Through Oct. 13 — “Midwest Pressed: Worn Out.” Tim Dooley and Aaron Wilson study the clichés of pop culture. 

Sept. 15-Jan. 5 — “Wild Kingdom: Prints of Britain.” This show compares and contrasts 300 years of British artists’ rapturous visions of the natural world with dark and pessimistic visions of human nature.

Oct. 25-February — “Gravity and Grace.” Monumental works by transformational Ghanaian artist El Anatsui.


Ankeny Art Center, 1520 S.W. Ordnance Road,

Through Sept. 26 — “Iowa Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition.”

Oct. 3-Nov. 29 — “Gary Tonhouse and Elyse Demaray.” A reception will be held on Oct. 3 from 5-7 p.m.

Dec. 10-Jan. 29 — “Members Art Show.”


Brunnier Museum of Art, University Museums, 290 Scheman Building, Ames,

Aug. 27-Dec. 20 — “In Pursuit of Wildlife Conservation: The Art of Jay N. Darling and Maynard Reece.” A reception is slated for Aug. 29 from 5-7 p.m.

Through Oct. 18 — “Through Charlotte’s Eyes: Christian Petersen, Sculptor.”

Through Oct. 25 — “French Art Nouveau: Lighting with Style.” This exhibition emphasizes the decorative arts.


The Vesterheim, 523 W. Water St., Decorah, 

Through Nov. 10 — “Sami Reindeer People.” Honoring the Sami families that came from Norway in the 1890s to teach reindeer husbandry to native peoples in Alaska.

Sept. 20-April 16 — “Four from the North.” Work by Minnesota artists inspired by Norwegian heritage and nature.

Oct. 14-Jan. 5 — “World of Jan Brett.” Original artwork, recreated scenes and favorite characters from the stories of the beloved children’s author and illustrator.

Opening Dec. 7 — “Flora Metamorphicae.” A perpetual project created by six contemporary Norwegian ceramic artists to create a carpet of 6,000 ceramic flowers.


Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College,

Through Sept. 8— “From a Distance.” Photographer Lorna Bieber builds her monumental installations from the vast array of images that activate contemporary culture.

“Environmental Concerns.” Margaret Whiting builds a forest of tree stumps and shows illustrations of human anatomy juxtaposed on maps to illustrate the intermingled destinies of man his environment.

“Wild Horses.” Scott Robert Hudson recreates a ghost dance of horse skulls hung and lit to shadow dance.

Sept. 20-Dec. 15 — “Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles.” Ordinary, often overlooked items emerge as objects for artistic investigation.

Oct. 4-Dec. 15 — “From the Wunderkammer to the Modern Museum.” Renaissance origins of the modern museum and gallery.


Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 410 Third Ave. S.E., Cedar Rapids,

Through Sept. 15 — “Bertha Jaques: Eye on the World.” Pioneering printmaker succeeded in a field dominated by male artists and also helped promote etching in America as a writer, teacher and co-founder of the Chicago Society of Etchers.

Through Sept. 29 — “From Houdini to Hugo; Art of Brian Selznick.” Works of a famous child illustrator.

Through Feb. 23 — “Taking Shape: Recent Acquisitions in the Fine Art of Craft.”


National Czech and Slovak Museum, 1400 Inspiration Place S.W., Cedar Rapids,, $10 for non members.

Until further notice — “Pins of Madeleine Albright” and “The Czech and Slovak Journey.”


MacNider Art Museum, 303 Second St. S.E., Mason City,

Through Sept. 14 — “Points of Interest: Shadows and Shapes.” Pam Echeverria won Best in Show at “Area Show: 43” in 2012. This show is part of her prize.


University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1375 Highway One W., Iowa City,

Ongoing — The University of Iowa Museum of Art Mapping Project online.


Figge Art Museum, 225 W. Second St., Davenport,

Through Sept. 28 — “Frank Lloyd Wright: The Bogk House Drawings.”

Through Oct. 6 — “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” Juan Angel Chavez celebrates the intrinsic value of ordinary and seemingly banal objects.

Sept. 6-8 — “Loving Kindness Tour.” A collection of Buddha relics that has been displayed in more than 66 countries in the past 11 years.

Sept. 14-Jan. 5 — “A New Deal for Illinois: The Federal Art Project Collection of Western Illinois University.”

Sept. 26-Nov. 3 — “Day of the Dead.” Katrina dolls and community ofrendas from Casa Guanajuato showcase the traditions of El Día de los Muertos.

Sept. 28-Jan. 5 — “1934: A New Deal for Artists.” A special exhibition organized by the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum in celebration of the first federally-funded art program.

“Waxing Poetic: Exploring Expression in Art”

Continuing Indefinitely — “A Legacy for Iowa.” Important paintings from the University of Iowa collection. CV






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