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WRITER: NATALIE ALLEN
CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: Feb. 9, 2001

UI Museum of Art events Feb. 22, 23 in conjunction with 'Lure of West'

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa Museum of Art will present events Feb. 22 and 23 in conjunction with its current exhibition, "Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," on view at the museum through March 18.

UI doctoral candidate Jennifer Vigil will present a lecture on "Refocusing the Gaze: An Examination of Contemporary Native American Photographers" at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.

Two events will be held at the museum on Friday, Feb. 23: At 3:30 p.m. there will be a panel discussion on "Western American and Native American Literature: 19th Century to the Present"; and at 7:30 p.m. Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member James Galvin, who has a home in the mountains near the Colorado-Wyoming border, will read "Western Poetry and Prose."

All events will be free and open to the public.

In her lecture Thursday Vigil will speak about the paintings and photographs of Native Americans and their response to the visual history of the West, including the works of contemporary Native American artists Victor Masayvesa, Shelley Niro, Richard Ray Whitman and Zig Jackson. These are artists that deal with the issues of their people, Vigil said.

"Native American people are still struggling for sovereignty," she said. "They are still struggling with rights and issues. They address the myths and legends of the West and present the counterpoint. They show what happened to the people who were living at that time in the West."

Friday's panel discussion will concentrate on the educational aspect of "Lure of the West" and how the exhibition can incorporate literature. The panel will be lead by UI doctoral candidates Lori Muntz and Jane Simonsen. Other panel members will be UI graduate students Bill Ness and Martin Buinicki.

The panelists hope that educators will attend, as they will discuss the ways "Lure of the West" is used in classrooms.

Ness and Buinicki, have already incorporated the exhibition in their classroom activities. Ness teaches interpretation of literature and planned a trip to the UI Museum of Art where his students will view the exhibition. The class is reading "Little Big Man," and will discuss "the definition of the frontier and how it appears in literature to the present time," Ness said.

Simonsen plans to talk about the short stories and paintings of Angel DeCora, a Winnebago Native American who worked at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, an institution designed to assimilate Indians to the culture of European Americans.

Muntz will speak about Simon Ortez's book "From Sand Creek," which creates a parallel between the Vietnam War and an 1864 massacre of Indians. She will also talk about the idea of witnessing, which she describes as the act of remembering.

James Galvin will read from his books "Resurrection Update," "The Meadow" and "Fencing the Sky."

Each of these books makes use of Western settings that Galvin knows well. "They make remarks about what places mean in the American imagination," he said. "To look at, it's just a landscape, but for us it's more. There's meaning attached."

Galvin finds a parallel between Western writers and many of the artists in "Lure of the West." "There are some really good painters who don't get their share of respect, much like some writers," he said "They're short-changed when they are categorized as Western painters."

"Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" is one of eight exhibitions in "Treasures to Go," touring the nation through 2002. The Principal Financial Group is a proud partner in presenting these treasures to the American people.

Programs and exhibitions at the Museum of Art are supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Local sponsors of "Lure of the West" include Meskwaki Bingo/Casino/Hotel, the Gazette family of companies, Humanities Iowa, Tru Art Color Graphics, the Iowa Arts Council, and the Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for events at the UI Museum of Art during the 2000-2001 season, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/uima on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 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 the museum.