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Release: Immediate

Exhibition from UI Museum of Art recognized by International Association of Art Critics

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Henry Darger: The Unreality of Being," an exhibition that was organized by University of Iowa Museum of Art director Stephen Prokopoff, was recognized by the International Association of Art Critics at their annual Best Show Awards and Holiday Party, held Dec, 8, 1998 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

The UI show was selected as runner-up in the category "Best Art Show organized by a U.S. Museum outside New York." It was beaten out for first- and second-place by exhibitions organized by two of the nation's largest and most prominent museums: "Out of Actions, Between Performance and the Object," organized by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; and "Mark Rothko," organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Other finalists in the category included shows from the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

"Henry Darger: The Unreality of Being" was shown at the UI Museum of Art Jan 13-March 10, 1996. It later traveled to several museums around the country, including the American Museum of Folk Art in New York, the High Museum in Atlanta, and the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center.

Everywhere it appeared, the exhibition attracted critical attention as a remarkable display of "outsider art," works created by artists working outside the established mainstream of contemporary art that is supported by museums, galleries, granting agencies and academic institutions.

Darger was a highly original, self-taught artist who was unknown as an artist in his lifetime. More than 300 of his large watercolor paintings and the fanciful 15,000-page epic story that they illustrated were discovered in his room in Chicago after Darger's death in 1972. Working at a menial job in a Catholic hospital and attending Mass daily, Darger had created both the epic story and the paintings in his completely solitary private life.

1/14/99