Articles by arecaroe

Looking Back, part II


Here is a sampling of some of the catalogues we’ve come across from the early 1980s. All are exhibitions that were developed by the University Gallery. (Also see the previous post Looking Back for catalogues from the 1970s.)

Minnesota Pottery: A Potter’s Point of View, 1981
Contact: American Art and Culture, 1919 – 1939, 1981
Martin Finch: 25 Years of Medical Illustration, 1986
Three Women Artists: Gag, Greenman & Mairs, 1980
German Porcelain and the Pictoral Arts, 1980
George Morrison: Entries in an Artist’s Journal, 1983
Images of the American Worker 1930 – 1940, 1983

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Process: A Public Sculpture

If you’ve spent much time on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, you’ve no doubt seen the large steel sculpture near Williamson Hall. I’ve walked by it many times without knowing the artist or the title of the work — until I found a WAM file called “Process: A Public Sculpture by Stewart Luckman”. The University Gallery had an exhibition in 1981 showcasing images and plans from the making of the sculpture.

Artist Stewart Luckman was commissioned to create the sculpture, called Rokker V, to commemorate the Alumini Assocation’s 75th anniversary in 1981. Luckman also founded the sculpture program at Bethel University in St. Paul. Current images of the sculpture and the location can be found at Start Seeing Art: Your Guide to Public Art in the Twin Cities.

Luckman at work, plus the plans for the sculpture

Southwestern Weaving, ’80s style

I discovered a stack of Polaroids in the “Loans” file for the 1984 exhibition Southwestern Weaving Traditions: Past and Present. The images feature rugs and blankets being held up by their owners (I can only assume), and views of the items in the homes of the lenders. I’m not sure whether these weavings were loaned for the exhibition, but I find the casualness of the snapshots and the vivid (Polaroid-enhanced) colors of the rugs charming in and of themselves.


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Looking back


Exhibitions come and go quickly, so sometimes it’s nice to look back and remember past accomplishments. These are a few of the catalogues we’ve found from exhibitions developed by the University Gallery in the latter half of the 1970s:

Animals from Legend and Life in Antique and German Porcelain, 1977
The Desert: Indian Art of the Southwest,1976
People of the Plains 1820-1850, 1978
Mimbres Painted Pottery, 1979
Once Upon a Time: Illustrations of Children’s Tales from Around the World, 1979
The Mountains of Marsden Hartley, 1979

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Luciano’s Lines

An Italian artist named Luciano Lattanzi had an exhibition titled “Semantic Paintings and Drawings” at the University Gallery in 1960. While logging his file, I found a mysterious stack of pen drawings, rendered in a spiderweb-like scrawl. These turned out to be made by the artist himself — you can see his signature at the bottom of the images. I realized these were templates for a promotional poster for the show. The file contained a reproduction of the following drawing, so I assume they chose this for the poster:


And here are two of the unused poster designs:
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Edvard Munch

In the fall of 1960, the University Gallery showed 40 master prints by the famed Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. These contact sheets feature images from the opening. Everyone seems to be drinking coffee or tea from tea cups, a tradition I’d rather like to see revived at art openings.


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Homeless No More

Two gigantic paintings by James Rosenquist and Roy Litchenstein (both painted for the 1964 World Fair) have long been important works in the Weisman Art Museum’s collection. I discovered these newspaper clippings and some small photos from 1966 in the files, which commemorate the first display of these works in Northrop Auditorium, where the University Gallery resided. They had to be laid out on the ground for viewing, as there was no place to hang such large work (and as I gather, they are still a bear to move). Apparently, the paintings were created to represent current American culture at the World’s Fair in New York. Afterward, they were given to the University by the artists, which found a home for them in the Weisman Art Museum.

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With a Twist

I hadn’t heard of the Belgian painter Pierre Alechinsky before I came upon his file (the University Gallery exhibited his work in 1965), but some of the colorful pieces in the catalog caught my eye.

Another item that caught my attention in the file was a small hand-cut manipulated photo of a face, which I think is Alechinsky himself. There is no indication as to who made it or for what purpose, but it’s quite an interesting little piece.


Photos from the Alechinsky opening, 1965:
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Image from the catalog:

Jasper Johns

In 1959, the University Gallery was looking to bring in some hot young artists from the New York art scene. They wrote to (the now famous) Jasper Johns and his gallerist, Leo Castelli, and managed to put up a show of Johns’ work in 1960 — and this was only two years after Johns had his first solo show in New York. The letter to Johns states:

The University Gallery, on a very modest budget, hopes to be able to initiate a new program which will aim at bringing to the campus a series of small exhibitions of work by New York artists of interest.

Letter to Jasper Johns and a list of the pieces loaned:
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Spring Flowers

In 1959, the University Gallery hosted a Japanese flower-arranging demonstration in conjunction with the exhibition “Japanese Prints”, and I discovered this contact sheet documenting the event in the files. I love contact sheets, since they show every shot the photographer took on that roll, prior to editing.