WRITER: DANA KAVAN
CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 25, 2002
WORKS BY UI ALUMNI BRACH AND SCHAPIRO AT MUSEUM OF ART NOV. 2-DEC. 15
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of the University of Iowas most distinguished alumni from the School
of Art and Art History return to Iowa City with their simultaneous exhibitions
Miriam Schapiros Art: A Journey and Paul Brach: The
Negative Way, Geometry of Faith and Music of the Spheres. The exhibitions
will be on display at the UI Museum of Art Nov. 2 through Dec. 15.
The exhibitions will feature works that the artists have completed in the
past decade, 15 femmages by Schapiro and 22 paintings and a print
series by Brach.
Schapiro will present the Bette Spriestersbach Distinguished Lecture, My
Journey through Art, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in the Buchanan Auditorium
of the UI John Pappajohn Business Building.
In conjunction with the Schapiro exhibition there will be a viewing of Womanhouse,
a film by Johanna Demetrakas, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Lasansky
Room of the Museum of Art. The film explores one of the most significant feminist
cultural events of the 1970s, when Schapiro and fellow artist and professor
Judy Chicago transformed a condemned house in Los Angeles into Womanhouse,
a retreat for women to explore attitudes and fantasies towards domesticity.
In other associated events, Brach will teach several classes at the UI School
of Art and Art History, where he will also present an Artists
Talk at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in Room E109 of the Art Building; and
the Museum of Art will offer free gallery tours of the two exhibitions, The
Art of Miriam Schapiro at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, and The Art
of Paul Brach at 2 p.m. the following Sunday, Nov. 17.
Schapiro and Brach met at the UI more than 50 years ago. Both had grown up
in New York City and come to Iowa to pursue an Master of Fine Arts degree
from the UI. They married less than a year after they met. Today, the two
78-year-olds continue to be one of the most remarkable couples in American
Each of them has made an indelible imprint on the American art world,
Paul especially as a teacher and Miriam as a painter, Howard Collinson,
director of the Museum of Art, said, noting that theyve both won lifetime
achievement awards from the College Art Association.
The artistic styles of the artists could not be more distinct. After discovering
feminist principles in her late 40s, Schapiro took a new direction in her
art. She developed a vocabulary that led to the Pattern and Decoration Movement
and feminist-oriented collages she calls femmages. These works
incorporating womens handcrafts led to her recognition as a leader in
the feminist movement in art. Schapiro started the Feminist Art Program at
the California Institute of the Arts, where she was inspired to create Womanhouse.
Schapiro has received numerous grants and awards including a National Endowment
for the Arts Fellowship, a Ford Foundation grant and the Rockefeller Foundation
Grant for Artists Residency at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in
Italy. Her work is displayed in collections in the United States, Germany,
Australia and Israel, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern
Art and the Whitney Museum in New York; the National Gallery in Washington,
D.C.; the Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany; and the National Museum of Australia
In his paintings Brach is an abstract expressionist and minimalist. His works
have been widely exhibited with 33 one-person shows and two nationally touring
retrospectives. His work at the Museum of Art will include The Negative
Way, a print series that refers to a late medieval theology that defined
God by listing all of the things he is not; The Geometry of Faith,
paintings reflecting on the pseudo-certainty of acting as if there is a God;
and Music of the Spheres, based on theories of the Greek mathematician
In both series of paintings, Brach has placed clusters of spheres against
monochrome backgrounds and included quotations of relevant texts.
Brach has also had a remarkable career as an educator. He was the founding
dean of the California Institute of the Arts and a Milton Avery Distinguished
Professor at Bard College in New York. In 1994, the College of Art Association
awarded him its Distinguished Teaching Award for lifetime achievement.
The annual Spriestersbach Lecture at the Museum of Art honors Bette R. Spriestersbach,
a museum docent and a former program associate in the Child Health Specialty
Clinics in the UI Hospital School. She is the wife of former UI vice president
Duane C. Spriestersbach, who endowed the lecture in 1992 through a gift to
the University of Iowa Foundation.
The exhibitions are sponsored by Hudson River Gallery and Frame Co., and
Salon Contemporary Furniture and Art, with support from the Sheraton Iowa
The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open
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.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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