Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fall Arts Guide

Karen Strohbeen's "Doll Heads & Lace"

Dire Fetes: Fall Exhibitions Play Grave Tunes

For Des Moines‘ art scene, fall is the sobering, back-to-work season that follows carefree summers packed with big festivals and light entertainments. This year‘s autumnal calendar reinforces such sobriety with a barrage of deadly serious exhibitions.

Currently playing at Moberg Gallery, master painter Richard Kelley presents a pre-Apocalyptic vision of housing developments, traffic nightmares, mesmerizing women, and escaped zoo animals.

The Des Moines Art Center (DMAC) has a current show, “Kill Them Before They Multiply,” that is themed around visions of grave anxieties bonded by the common observation that growth, be it suburban sprawl or cell phone proliferation, is cancerous. Steven Vail Fine Arts’ continues its exhibition of deconstructed Scandinavian symphonies by Not Vital, a Swiss artist who cultivates his worldview in a mud hut in Niger.

More gravity is on the way too. DMAC’s next major exhibition brings Jeanne Mammen’s street smart visions of pre World War II nightclubs and prostitutes to Greenwood Park. By Halloween, her work will be joined there by an anthology show, “Bad Dreams,” that promises to be seriously disturbing. In late September, Olson-Larsen Galleries will premiere Sharon Booma‘s highly emotional paintings that attempt “to control the chaotic forces that control our lives.” The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art will feature “Goya’s Disasters of War,” with all the horror of war and none of its heroics nor romance.
As fall winds its way toward winter, lighter spirits begin to influence the muse of curators. Wendy Rolfe and Priscilla Steele will bring their earth goddess visions to Olson-Larsen. Frank Hansen’s latest pictorials on human frailty will follow Kelley at Moberg. Quilt Walk will keep Valley Junction in stitches and various artists’ studio spaces will host open houses during the holidays. Bill Luchsinger & Karen Strohbeen shall deck the holiday season with their latest meditations on beauty and prairie life. But Chuck Close has the last word and that's as stark as winter.

(*APT* indicates a special Art Pimp tout)
Recurring Events and Family Attractions

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

Special Events


September 24-25
Art Stop - (, )
A two day visual and performing arts event, with shuttle busses to Valley Junction, East Village, Ingersoll, Gateway West and Roosevelt, but not Drake.

October 1-3
Northeast Iowa Artists Studio Tour (Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-463-4692, ) APT
Iowa’s original art studio tour takes places around Decorah‘s autumn majesty.

October 6-9
“Quilt Walk”
Nine Historic Valley Junction merchants feature quilt-related exhibitions and demonstrations, and hosting opening receptions with artists.


Art Dive (1417 Walnut St., )
Des Moines’ original 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.

Finder's Creepers (515 18th St.
Alternative to alternative.

Kavanaugh Gallery (131 5th Street West Des Moines, 279-8682,
Specializing in purchased estate collections, there’s no telling what you might find here.

Octagon Center for the Arts (427 Douglas Avenue, Ames
Usually a fabulous fiber art show each fall.

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, )

Through September 4
“Yuko Ishi, Ken Smith and Mary Merkel Hess”
Ishi’s multimedia studies of birds are a bird watchers’ dream.

September 24 - November 27
“New Works by Sharon Booma” ATP
A rare one person exhibit for Olson-Larsen.

October 22 - November 27
“Kim Hutchison, Brian Roberts, Lee Emma Running”

December 3 - January 15, 2011
“Wendy Rolfe, Priscilla Steele”
“Small Works Show”
Includes pieces by Carlos Ferguson, John Beckelman, Richard Black, Pat Edwards, Yuko Ishi, Amy Worthen

Moberg Art Gallery (2921 Ingersoll Ave., )

Through September 18
“Richard Kelley” APT
Des Moines‘ master painter creates his own magical world.

October 1 - November 13
“Frank Hansen” APT
Hansen’s exhibition are Des Moines most raucously attended as a range of folks respond to the artist’s blue collar wit. Last year’s exhibit featured over 60 new works and a movie premier.

November 19 - January 2011
“New Works by Bill Luchsinger & Karen Strohbeen” APT
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.

Heritage Art Gallery (111 Court Ave.,

Through September 10
“Charitable Print Trust”
Robert Schulte leads a group of artists who create prints to sell and also to donate to non profits and charities to use in their fundraising auctions. James Conn, Matt Welbourn and Jim Engler are also included.
September 13 - October 21
“Contemporary Fibers”

October 25 - December 2.
“Works by Mary Muller, Leslie Leavenworth, and Joyce Lee.”

December 6 - January 2011
“Greater Des Moines Exhibited 17”

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

“Juried Photography Show”

“Creepy Crawlies”
DMSC’s second annual Halloween themed show.

“Hybrid: Holly Jensen and Michelle Holley Installation”
Steven Vail Fine Arts (Teachout Building, East Village, 309-2763,

Through October
“Not Vital - Dirigerer” APT
Swiss artist paints impressions of great musical compositions by Sibelius, Grieg and Nielsen.

“Fred Truck“
Anaglyph and 3D photographs

“Sol Lewitt”
Selected Prints from the Estate of Sol LeWitt

January - March
“Chuck Close – Works in Edition”
Des Moines Art Center (4700 Grand Ave., )

Through August 29
“The Bike Riders - Danny Lyon”
American photographer documents his years with the Chicago Outlaws biker club.

Through September 26
“Kill Them Before They Multiply” APT
Fifteen artists’ visions of viral growth, obsessive repetition, and overcrowding - from the colorful, beehive world of fast food courts, through traffic jams, people on cell phones and suburbia gone amok.

Through September 19
“Iowa Artists Exhibited”
Fifteen artists ranging from performance diva Leslie Hall to realist oil painter Larassa Kabel. Des Moines’ Dan Weiss, Nate Morton and Benjamin Gardner represent the metro.

September 10 - December 12
“Jeanne Mammen” APT
Working as a magazine illustrator in the years just before World War II, Mammen captured a world of nightclubs, street singers, fashionable cafes, and prostitutes in her stylized and often critical images.

October 1 – January 23, 2011
“Another Dimension: Sculpture Park Artists’ Prints, Drawings, and Objects”
Works on paper by artists represented in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

October 8 – January 9, 2011
“Bad Dreams” APT
Drawn primarily from the Art Center’s permanent collections, Bad Dreams presents the imagery of nightmares, from literal depictions of our worst fears to surrealistic visions that inexplicably conjure up anxiety and unease.

Ankeny Art Center (1520 SW Ordnance Rd., )

Through September
“Robert Mullinex”
Teeple Hansen Gallery (108 W. Broadway, Suite 206. Fairfield)

August 6 - September 18
“Four Dimensions”
Fairfield artists Judy Bales, Manuel Coradin and Shannon Kennedy and Deborah Vanko of Des Moines show multi media works.

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

Through August 2010
“Exquisite Balance: Sculptures by Bill Barrett”
Sculptures recall fluid effortlessness of calligraphy and betray a positivism to which many viewers feel drawn.

August 24 - December 17
“Relationships: Drawn, Analog to Digital”
“The Observant Eye: Beth Van Hoesen”
“Mark Adams: Translation of Light”
“N.C. Wyeth’s America in the Making”

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

Through March 2011
Pieces of Self: Identity and Norwegian-American Quilts”Expressions of family, religious, and ethnic identity in quilts from Vesterheim’s collection.

“2010: The International Year of the Nurse”Featuring WWII, Red Cross, and deaconess nurses.

Faulconer Gallery (Grinnell College,
Through September 5
“Harry Shearer: the Silent Echo Chamber”
A who's who of American politics and punditry in the moments before they go "live" on television.

Through September 5
Michael Van den Besselaar: Unconscious Optics
Paintings, resembling old Zenith and RCA televisions, freeze fleeting images once beamed into collective consciousness.

September 17 - December 12
Culturing Community: Projects about Place
Projects will include an examination of attitudes towards work and a look at current and pending environmental issues facing the Grinnell community.

Through December 12
Young Pioneers: Lithographs from the Johnson-Horrigan Collection
Examines the role of children in works produced by the Soviet Artists Union in the early and mid 1970s.

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

September 4 - December 12
“Goya‘s Disasters of War”
All the gruesome horror of war without heroics or romance.

October 9 - December 31
China: Insights. New Documentary Photography from the People's Republic
Emerging and vanishing China, through the eyes of seven mainland photographers.

November 27 - October 9, 2011“Earth Transformed: Ceramics from the Collection”Celebrates the growing section of decorative arts in the CRMA's collection.

January 22 - May 1, 2011
Wizards of Pop!”More than 60 images from 13 picture and pop-up books reveal a variety of media and techniques in batik, marbleized paper mosaic, and delicate cut-paper, and pop-up books rendered in pencil, marker, watercolor, acrylic, and linoleum block print

University Museum (3219 Hudson Road, Cedar Falls,

September 13 – December 23
“Object as Subject”
It does itself, plus other tricks of self absorption.

January 2011
“Our World in Focus”Clearing things up.
Blanden Art Museum ( 920 Third Avenue SouthFort Dodge, 515-573-2316, )

Through Sept. 22
“Iowa in Pastel - Mary Muller”
MacNider Art Museum (303 2nd Street Southeast, Mason City,641- 421-3666,

October 29 – January 8, 2011 “Marc Sijan: Being Alive”
Hyper-realistic sculptures of Wisconsin artist.

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