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Release: Aug. 17, 2001

Museum of Art opens Aug. 31 with new exhibitions, hours , coffee bar

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will re-open for the fall ready to provide a whole new experience for its visitors.

For the first time in many years, the galleries will be dominated by art from the museum's own collection. To complement the new presentation of art, there will be a new Museum Store, a new Museum Coffee Bar and a new look for all the museum's publications.

In order to be more accessible to a broader public, the museum will now be open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Lectures, musical performances and special events will be presented on selected Thursday and Friday evenings.

After sensational success with visiting exhibitions -- most recently, "Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie," "Victorian Fairy Painting" and "Lure of the West" -- Howard Collinson, the museum director, and the staff decided it was time to celebrate the museum's own extensive and impressive collection.

"As we begin the 21st century, we wanted to use the art in our collection to create a new type of art museum," Collinson said. "Rather than being a traditional museum OF art, we want to become one of the first museums about art.

"This means that visitors will have the opportunity not only to see some wonderful works of art, but to understand how the artworks grow out of the cultures and the beliefs of the people that created them. Art isn't about objects, it's about ideas. At the Museum of Art, we feel it is important to look at the very nature of art itself, as one of the intellectual disciplines within a great university. Making art and thinking about art are ways to explore the world around us."

In the reconfigured Museum of Art, a combination of permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions will offer visitors a new thematic interpretation of the collection, with interactive media guides and more interpretive features. Familiar works from the collection will be presented in a new light alongside more recent acquisitions for the museum.

There will be four major areas in the permanent galleries:

  • A gallery of European and American Art will combine works from the museum's collections of painting, sculpture, and works on paper to explore art as a reflection of many realities. Among the artists represented in this area will be a number of well known figures from the 20th century, including Miro, Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Vassily Kandinsky and Ad Reinhardt.
  • The gallery of African Art will have almost double the exhibition space previously allocated for this part of the collection. The new display of the museum's unparalleled collection of African art will reveal objects as the embodiment of ideas and beliefs in African culture. A new open storage facility will give visitors the chance to see hundreds of objects, and a rotating gallery will open with an exhibition of traditional African home furnishings.
  • The Projection Room will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience a new aspect of collecting at the museum. A program that changes daily will include video and film work by a variety of artists, including Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, Charles and Ray Eames and others. Kathleen Edwards, the museum's print, drawing, photography and new media curator, explained, "We felt that our audience would like an opportunity to see film and video works, which have played such a big role in the art of the past 30 years. The room will function like a gallery. You just wander in and stay for as long as you like."
  • The gallery of Native American Art of the Southwest will feature ceramics, textiles, jewelry and other works representing the artistic traditions of Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples. The objects span hundreds of years, from ancient ceramics to contemporary silverwork.

    Over the coming year, the museum will also feature the permanent collection in smaller temporary exhibitions. Three of these will be in place when the museum re-opens Aug. 31: "Drunk: A Video Installation by Gillian Wearing" (Aug. 31-Nov. 4); "Jules Kirschenbaum: The Last Paintings" (Aug. 31-Oct. 28); and "Invention in Lithography" (Aug. 31-Nov. 11).

The initial acquisition for the museum's new collection of media art, Wearing's "Drunk," presents disturbing and haunting images of London street drinkers. Wearing won the distinguished Turner Prize in 1997 and is the subject of a major retrospective touring American museums in 2002. "Drunk" will be accompanied by showings of Wearing's 1999 work "I Love You," a 60-minute single-channel video, to be shown Thursdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. through September and October. "I Love You" is presented courtesy of the artist and Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York.

"Jules Kirschenbaum" will feature five major works by the renowned Des Moines artist and teacher who died in 2000. The show will include his final trilogy of works exploring issues of the flesh and mortality, featuring "Yamantaka, Me, and Oblivion," as well as "The Spanish Poet," both recent additions to the UI Museum of Art collection.

"Inventions in Lithography" will present 35 works from the museum's collection that explore the artistic exploitation of the medium. Artists in the exhibition who have contributed to the 200 year history of lithography include Gericault, Goya, Daumier, Whistler, Toulouse-Lautrec, Jasper Johns, and Helen Frankenthaler.

The museum's curatorial staff will offer tours of the galleries at 4 p.m. selected Thursdays. Pamela Trimpe, curator of painting and sculpture, will lead a tour of the European and American paintings Sept. 13; Edwards will lead a tour of graphic art works Oct. 11; and Victoria Rovine, curator of African, Oceania and the Americas, will lead a tour of the African collection Nov. 8.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.