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University of Iowa News Release

March 20, 2006

Lasansky's 'Nazi Drawings' Return To Exhibition At UI Museum of Art April 2

"The Nazi Drawings," a powerful and meaningful series of 30 individual pieces and one triptych by University of Iowa Professor Emeritus Mauricio Lasansky, will be on display in the North Gallery of the UI Museum of Art (UIMA) April 2-July 30.

Long considered Lasansky's masterwork, "The Nazi Drawings" were last shown at the UIMA in 1997.

Lasanksy completed "The Nazi Drawings" in 1966. To create them he used only basic drawing tools and media: lead pencil, water- and turpentine-based washes, and collage on common commercial paper. "I tried to keep not only the vision of 'The Nazi Drawings' simple and direct but also the materials I used in making them," Lasansky said.

"I wanted them to be done with a tool used by everyone everywhere. From the cradle to the grave, meaning the pencil. I felt if I could use a tool like that, this would keep me away from the virtuosity that a more sophisticated medium would demand."

The drawings feature figures associated with executioners, skeletal remnants of battered humanity, and other metaphors that relate abused to abuser.

Lasansky wrote: "Dignity is not a symbol bestowed on man, nor does the word itself possess force. Man's dignity is a force and the only modus vivendi by which man and his history survive.

"When mid-20th-century Germany did not let man live and die with this right, man became an animal. No matter how technologically advanced or sophisticated, when a man negates this diving right he not only becomes self-destructive, but castrates his history and poisons our future."

"The Nazi Drawings" have been exhibited in many prominent art museums and has received widespread public attention. It was one of the first exhibitions installed at the new Whitney Museum of American art in New York City in 1967. "The Nazi Drawings" are on long-term loan to the UIMA from the Richard S. Levitt Foundation.

Lasansky has worked for more than 60 years, largely in the intaglio printmaking medium. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lasansky moved to the United States in 1943. He established the printmaking department in the UI School of Art and Art History in 1945, and in 1952 became a U.S. citizen.

Lasansky's full-scale figure prints and innovative techniques, such as multiple-plate printing, and experimental combinations of etching, drypoint and engraving, established him as a major contributor to the 1960s printmaking revival in the United States. His subjects range from historic and commonplace scenes of suffering and social injustice to intimate portraits of family members.

As professor of art at the UI from 1945 to 1984, Lasansky purposely trained his students to teach future generations of printmakers, establishing what is now considered one of the preeminent printmaking departments in the United States.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 9 p.m. Fridays. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum. Parking in these lots is free weekdays after 4:30 p.m. and all day on weekends.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit www.uiowa.edu/uima on the World Wide Web. For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.