Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fall Arts Guide

Art Stop and non stop

In just its third year, artstop has developed into the major cultural event of the central Iowa fall while honoring the memory of an art pioneer.

"It all started at the memorial for Jan Shotwell," Marlene Olson explained of the long time gallery owner who died in 2007.

"We were talking about how much we all owed her, how much she had done for the arts, and (Elements Gallery owner) Sheena Thomas suggested that we might honor her legacy by commissioning a bus that connects the arts districts of town on a continuous run. She was thinking it could run year around, but we started with something more practical, once a year," Olson said.

On Sept. 11 and 12, shuttle buses will run continuously through some of metro Des Moines' artsy neighborhoods. The culturally rich Drake area is conspicuously omitted while Ankeny and Grandview areas are off the route for more understandable geographic reasons. Still, Artstop has created an event that is developing into a tourist attraction like studio tours of Winneshiek and Van Buren counties and art walks in Iowa City and Fairfield have.

Several galleries are honoring Artstop this year by holding big events. Anthony Pontius' entire available catalogue shows at Moberg Gallery after the artist's successful shows this year in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Seattle. Mary Kline-Misol will sign books, Chris Vance will teach drawing and the Des Moines Chorro Ensemble will play at Moberg during the event.

Olson-Larsen Galleries will open a show of new works by three popular artists including magical realist Michael Brangoccio,
who will deliver a gallery talk, Richard Black and Dan Mason. That gallery will also offer do-it-yourself animation stations and acoustic rock music. Steven Vail Fine Arts opens "Jan Frank; Kissinger & the Ladies" with folk-pop-rock. East Village Art Coalition debuts "The Seditionist Art Project" with a reconstructed classical music mosaic. From Our Hands Gallery has convinced Linda Andeberg to open a fiber show. Susan Noland Gallery has a reception planned for woodworker Dave Grieve. 2Au will present "meet the artist" events with Judy Whipple and live dance performances. Des Moines Social Club opens "Brent Houzenga's Me & My Army" and the artist will give painting demonstrations along with Michelle Holly, Chris Roberts and others.

Other fall highlights start with the Des Moines Art Center's "Return to Function" another big anthology show which explores functionality through the eyes of artists like Jules De Balincourt, Davide Balula, Ralph Borland, Claire Fontaine, Mark Hosking, Fabrice Hyber, Huong Ngo, Lucy Orta, Jorge Pardo and Andrea Zittel. Valley Junction's second annual Quilt Walk will keep October in stitches.
Frank Hansen's latest pictorials on human frailty will attract the artist's enthusiastic throng to Moberg where Bill Luchsinger and Karen Strohbeen will deck the holiday season out with their latest meditations on life on the prairie. A Fred Truck retrospective brings deadly serious humor to Heritage Gallery. Kemlyn Tan Bappe's spiritual takes on water soothe eyes at Ankeny Art Center.

A short drive away, highlights begin with a Faulconer Gallery exhibition on "Molecules that Changed History" including aspirin, Prozac, nylon and DDT. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art debuts a Norman Rockwell show while University of Northern Iowa museums offer two stellar outdoor photographers' works.

( APT indicates a special Art Pimp tout)

Recurring Events & Family Attractions

Thursday Night Art Walks in downtown Newton
First Friday Art Walks, Fairfield Town Square

Special Events ~ Festivals

Sept. 11-12 Artstop (,
Oct. 29 "Quilt Walk" in Valley Junction
Galleries ~ Ongoing

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

2AU (200 Fifth, West Des Moines) Pearls reign this fall in Au's effort to provide Art Deco comforts in a troubled year.

Des Moines Social Club (1408 Locust, Ave. Circus, wrestling, tai chi, akido, theater, belly dancing and other acts of sociability make the club's Instinct Gallery the most non traditional in town.

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

Special Exhibitions

Olson-Larsen Galleries (203 Fifth, West Des Moines,

Sept. 11 through Oct. 10 "New Works by Michael Brangoccio, Richard Black and Dan Mason." Brangoccio's excursions into magical realism are highlights of any season. APT

Oct. 16 through Nov. 28 "Thomas Jewel-Vitale," "Pastels" by John Preston. APT

Oct. 29 "Quilt Walk" Featuring works of Linda Andeberg, Priscilla Sage and Debra Smith.

Dec. 4 through Jan. 16, 2010 "Susan Chrysler White," "Anthology Show" with Bill Barnes, Dick Brewer, Barbara Fedeler, Carlos Ferguson, Dave Gordinier, Sarah Grant, Scott Charles Ross and Ken Peterson. APT

Moberg Art Gallery (2921 Ingersoll Ave., )

Through Sept. 19 "Anthony Pontius' Casual Calamity" In Pontius' hands, technique becomes symbolic. Moberg curators included Pontius' preliminary sketches with his paintings showing how the artist reworks a concept. APT

"New Artist Exhibit" Shows off bright, gypsy abstractions from Therès Murdza, Heather Brammeier and Diane Henk, sunny realism of Larassa Kabel and the dark wonderland of Mary Kline-Misol.

Sept. 18 through Nov. 16 "Frank Hansen" Hansen's exhibition are Des Moines most raucously attended each year as a wide range of folks respond to the artist's blue collar wit. Last year's exhibit featured over 60 new works and a movie premier. APT

Nov. 20 - January 2010 "New Works by Bill Luchsinger & Karen Strohbeen." Creating their first prints in 1970, Karen and Bill were among the nation's digital print making pioneers, even before David Hockney made it cool. The exhibit will showcase new work on paper, canvas, and ceramic tile. APT

Heritage Art Gallery (111 Court Ave.,

Through Sept. 18 "Fred Truck - Ten Year Sandwich." Takes on corporate images, individualism, war and terror all intertwine in this exploration of identity and its dissolution. APT

Instinct Gallery at Des Moines Social Club (1408 Locust St.,

Through August "Animal Nature" Anthropomorphic animals (Christopher Umana, Rudy Fig), parasitic insects (John Stuart Berger), teddy bears on crack (Chris Bent), mythological hybrids (Jeremiah Kettner) and Kafkaesque nightmares (Jason Scott Hoffman) hang their hats on the same rack as more traditional artists like Vanja Borcic and Jamie Fales.

September "Me & My Army" Brent Houzenga. The artist's largest solo show to date.

October "Creepy Crawlies" DMSC's first annual Halloween themed show.

November "The Lost Diary of Capt. Malcom Chang"? Installation by Van Holmgren in the main gallery. Veronica Hubbard and Zech Ward in the Side Galleries.

Steven Vail fine Arts (2880 Grand Ave., 309-2763, )

Through October "Jan Frank and Robert Stanley" Jan Frank's heavily worked, subtle abstractions and Robert Stanley brassy photo-realist nudes share a certain fascination with the female body. APT


Des Moines Art Center (4700 Grand Ave.,

Through Sept. 13 "Tara Donovan" Sculptor Donovan starred in a previous group show at DMAC and returns for her first solo exhibition of eye-fooling installations that transform large quantities of mass-produces items - toothpicks, adhesive tape, drinking straws, buttons, straight pins, plastic drinking cups, and Mylar - into stunning spectacles that defy expectations. APT

Through Sept. 6 "Before Anime" Prints from the Japanese imagination.

Oct. 2 through Jan. 10, 2010 "Return to Function" An artistic exploration of functional objects from vehicles to clothing, lighting and mobile architecture by Jules De Balincourt, Davide Balula, Ralph Borland, Claire Fontaine, Mark Hosking, Fabrice Hyber, Huong Ngo, Lucy Orta, Jorge Pardo, and Andrea Zittel, and others. APT

DMAC Downtown (8th and Walnut St.)

Through Sept. 13 "Tara Donovan" The first show so big and mind boggling it requires both DMAC buildings to hold it. This is also the downtown gallery's final show.

Ankeny Art Center (1520 S.W. Ordnance Rd. )

Through Oct. 10 "Beyond The Sea" Iowan artist's love for water creatures in a variety of media: acrylic, mixed media, watercolor and ink, pencils and silk dyes. APT
"Diversify Your Bonds" Brings together over thirty different Iowa artists from wildly different backgrounds.

Brunnier Museum of Art (University Museums, 290 Scheman Bldg., Ames, 515.294.3342,

Through Dec. 31 "Artists Visions: Prints, Paintings and Drawings from the Permanent Collection" 60 prints, paintings and sculptures from the University Museums' permanent collection, including works by Marvin Cone, Grant Wood, Dorthea Tomlinson and their contemporaries.

"N. C. Wyeth: America in the Making" Beloved Saturday Evening Post illustrator from the golden era of that medium.

Through Dec. 18 "HOT and COOL: Contemporary Studio Glass Sculpture from the Permanent Collection.

Through Feb 26, 2010 "All the Evils...Christian Petersen and the Art of War."

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

Through September 26 "Woven Women: Representations of the Female in Norwegian Weaving."

Through Oct. 11 "Knitting along the Viking Trail" Knitwear designed by Elsebeth Lavold with intertwining and runic motifs from the Viking Age.

Through February 21 "Sacred Symbols" Explores the pre-Christian function of symbols in textiles: good luck, fertility, protection and the spiritual world.

Through Spring 2010 "Sami" Artifacts and images from the Sami people.

Faulconer Gallery (Grinnell College,

Through Sept. 6 "Below the Surface: A 21st-Century Look at the Prairie" Contemporary views of our place in the world and its natural history, infused with overtones of the cultures that now live on this former sea of grass.

Sept. 25 - Dec. 13 "Molecules That Matter" An exhibition exploring 10 significant molecules of the 20th century: aspirin, isooctane, penicillin, polyethylene, nylon, DNA, progestin, DDT, prozac, and the buckminsterfullerene/nanotube. APT

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (410 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids),

Till further notice "Malvina Hoffman: Rodin's Last Student." "Mauricio Lasansky Master Printmaker" Lasansky combines a spectrum of graphic techniques including etching, drypoint, aquatint, and engraving.

"Art in Roman Life" More than 50 works, including 21 Roman portrait busts.

Sept. 12 through Jan. 3, 2010 ?"Norman Rockwell - Fact & Fiction" In the 65 years since his visit, numerous anecdotes and stories have arisen about the artist's time in Cedar Rapids and the creation of this work.

University Museum (3219 Hudson Road, Cedar Falls),

Through Oct. 24 "The Irreplaceable Wild - Fragile Nature" National Geographic photographer Joel Sartori.

Nov. 2 through Dec. 23 "The Irreplaceable Wild - Touch the Sky" The photography of Jim Brandenburg.