WRITER: NICK DELO
CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 9, 1999
La James students interpret art into avant-garde hairstyles
at the UI Museum of Art
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kathleen Edwards, University of Iowa
Museum of Art curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, was surprised and
delighted when she found a display of mannequin heads dressed in elaborately
styled wigs arranged in a semi-circle on the museum floor.
The display was the result of a La James College of Hairstyling
course, "Interpretation of Art into Hair." The course, which is part of La
James' advanced design curriculum, required its students to go to the UI Museum
of Art, find a piece of artwork that moved them, and, after studying the artwork
for its symmetry and color texture, interpret it into a hairstyle.
Working with wigs on mannequin heads, La James students
had free rein with coloring and cutting the hair, and ornamenting it with
a wide variety of objects, including hair extensions, ribbons, twigs, flowers,
colored paper, cotton and angel wings.
Scott Allen, a La James instructor who has been affiliated
with the college since 1989, created the course as a way to get his students
to think more abstractly. He said, "Part of my job as an instructor is to
get my students' creative juices flowing in order to help them delve deeper
into their creative conscious and learn things that cannot be found readily
in books or at hair shows."
While Allen admitted that some of the hairstyles weren't
designed for normal street wear, he said that they were to be thought of more
as avant-garde art.
"Most people have a preconceived notion of what hairstyling
can be, based on what they've seen in magazines or in pictures hanging in
hair salons," Allen said. "I want my students to be able to break down these
conceptions. Hairstyling is really an art -- it's the art of sculpting heads."
Allen also participated in the course this semester. He
interpreted Boris Lurie's work "Knives in Cement" into a hairstyle by stripping
a wig of its color, dying it concrete gray, and then smoothing the wig's bangs
over a mannequin's face. Finishing touches were put on the hairstyle by inserting
knives into it.
Artwork that La James students interpreted into hairstyles
can be found in some of the museum's current exhibitions: "Fallen Angels:
Photographs by Karin Apollonia Muller," "The Drawing Speaks: Works by Theophile
Bra," "Monumentality in Miniature" and "Boris Luire," as well as in the museum's
The La James College of Hairstyling is located at 227
East Market Street in Iowa City, and accepts customers by appointment and
The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive
in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon
to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in
UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of