WRITER: NATALIE ALLEN
CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 19, 2001
UI Museum of Art presents lectures Feb 1 & 2 in conjunction with 'Lure
of the West'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will present lectures
Feb. 1 and 2 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.
Malcolm J. Rohrbough, a professor of history at the UI, will speak about
the "California Gold Rush" at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1 in the
Museum of Art.
At 7:30 p.m. the following night, Friday, Feb. 2, Brady Roberts, director
of modern art at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., will speak in
the museum on "The Taos Society of Artists."
Both events will be free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session
will follow each lecture.
Rohrbough will discuss the financial and social impact of the Gold Rush.
"The discovery of gold in California turned things upside down,"
Rohrbough said. "It opened up wealth and change in status. (The United
States) became the ultimate democratic society. The only thing anyone needed
was a pick and a shovel.
"The Gold Rush turned out to be an enormous lottery. It produced Americas
first great diverse society."
The Gold Rush was not just a California event. Immigrants streamed into
America to find gold. "It was a worldwide and national phenomena,"
Rohrbough has written four books about the West. His latest, "The California
Gold Rush and the American Nation," was awarded the Caughey Book Prize
of the Western History Association for the best book on the history of the
American West published in 1997.
Paintings, Rohrbough said, bring an immediacy that words cannot. The cover
of his book features a painting in the Smithsonian collection that will be
on display at the UI Museum of Art, "Miners in the Sierras" by Charles
Christian Nah and August Wenderoth.
The Taos Society originated in the 1890s when East Coast artists began visiting
the Southwest. A large number of artists settled in Taos, N.M., and over a
period of 30 years painted Indian subjects, landscapes and Hispanic cultures
using expressionistic color, bright light, bold composition and surface abstraction.
Roberts talk will link the Taos Society with Modernism. In particular,
he will talk about Marsden Hartley, a well-known American artist and the resemblance
between his paintings and those of the Taos Society.
"Marsden Hartley had a spiritual approach to landscape that the Taos
artists had," Roberts said.
A significant factor that set the Taos Society apart from other movements
was its location, Roberts said. "The location and the Pueblo were important
to the Taos Society. It was before Industrialization took over in the Southwest
part of the country."
"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, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, 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
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.