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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: Jan. 26, 2001

UI Museum of Art presents events Feb 8 & 9 in conjunction with 'Lure of the West'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will present a lecture Feb. 8 and a square dance Feb. 9 in conjunction with its current exhibition, "Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum," on view in the museum through March 18.

UI English department faculty member Corey Creekmur will give a lecture, "Cowboy Drag: Gender and Sexuality in the Western Film," at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Museum of Art.

The following night, Friday, Feb. 9, starting at 7:30 p.m., a square dance will be held at the museum.

Both events will be free and open to the public.

Creekmur believes that the common representation of the West as male-dominant and heterosexually-inclined should not be assumed. He said that his presentation will "draw upon images from the entire history of the Western to suggest that an alternative history of the genre was always available."

"The popular Western has often provided a creative space for the image of the cowgirl and for female fans, and the Western has even flirted with the cowboy’s presumed heterosexuality," he said.

Creekmur said his presentation, like many of the paintings included in the Smithsonian exhibition, is centered in the myth of the West. "The West functions primarily as a fantasy, but a fantasy that we should take seriously," he said.

Creekmur will include slides and film clips of Westerns in his presentation.

There will be old-time square dancing the following night, with a string band to accompany the dancers. A caller will go through the steps before the dance starts. Everyone from beginners to advanced square dancers of any age are encouraged to attend.

"Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" features 64 important paintings and sculptures from the 1820s through the 1940s by American artists fascinated with Indian and Hispanic cultures and the majestic landscapes of the western territories. The artworks, which celebrate the landscape and pay tribute to Native Americans and their cultures, served to establish American art and its subject matter as new and exciting to audiences worldwide.

The exhibition encompasses more than a century of art, moving from the excitement of exploration to the establishment of a national mythology about the West.

"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 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.