Recently in University Gallery Category

Understanding Sculpture Today

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From the beginning, the exhibition philosophy of the University Gallery was guided by a simple purpose - to expose University of Minnesota students to new forms of art in order to further understanding and cultivate appreciation. The exhibit Understanding Sculpture Today, held from November - December 1946, is one example of an application of this philosophy.

Sculpture1.jpgThe University Gallery press books contain various articles, printed by local newspapers, which promoted and reviewed the exhibit. According to these sources, the exhibit was assembled by William Saltzman (acting director), and included 40 works of sculpture loaned by galleries and individual artists throughout the country. According to Saltzman, who was quoted in a November 1, 1946 MN Daily article, "The purpose of the exhibit, as the title implies, is to present various media and methods of interpretation as found in contemporary sculpture."

The exhibit included "Two Bodies," by Alexander Archipenko, "Overture," by Calvin Albert, "Hanging Mobile," by Alexander Calder, and "Biography in Bronze," by Carl Milles. Various local artists were also represented in the exhibit, to include University of Minnesota art professor S. Chatwood Burton, and Evelyn Raymond of the Walker Art Center.

University student Stan Hietala reviewed the exhibit in a November 22, 1946 MN Daily article titled, "From Marble to Plexiglas: Sculpture Shows Versatility." Hietala reported, "The show is an excellent example of the ability of William Salt[z]man, gallery assistant director, and his staff. It answers a need in a field somewhat unknown to the [non-art] student, helping him to understand today's sculpture."

The Minneapolis Daily Times printed a photograph of two University students observing a sculpture titled, "Five That Escaped" (above). The sculpture was popularly mentioned in many of the articles about the exhibit. Hietala's review also mentioned the work:


"Quite often an artist is found who expresses his emotions primarily, ignoring conventional style or contemporary trends. In Randolph W. Johnson's bronze... the sculptor almost achieves pure emotionalism, void of dogmatic style.

The five figures are stumbling along, fatigued, yet in haste. Their whole demeanor reflects horror and fright."

WAM continues to promote the understanding of sculpture in the museum galleries, as well as throughout campus. Archipenko's, "Two Bodies" is currently on display in the Woodhouse Gallery, and is one of many examples of sculpture that can be found within the museum. For the current Target Studio for Creative Collaboration exhibit, contextual flux, artist Jason Hackenwerth worked with University students (to include several studying "non-art" disciplines) to produce new sculptural forms. Throughout the University, over 30 different forms of sculpture can be found in courtyards, building entrances, lounges, garden spaces, and other campus locations as part of the Public Works of Art program.

For current University of Minnesota students - and visitors - who have harbored a latent curiosity in regards to the shapes and forms that they encounter on campus, opportunities abound at WAM for them to start understanding sculpture today...

Season's Greetings Cards

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Don't let the above-normal temperatures of late fool you -- December has officially arrived. Though some of you may have a sliver of pie somewhere in the back of your fridge, Thanksgiving is now far behind, and for many, the focus has sharply turned towards December holiday preparations. It is at this time, every year, that my mother starts to lay the prep work for the 25th: requesting lists of gift ideas, reporting the status of holiday home decorating, and asking that truly pivotal question, "What should we write in the annual Christmas card?"

GreetingCard.jpgThis question has been on the minds of mothers (and other card preparers) since the Victorian era, as a representative display of card designs exhibited at the University Gallery in 1946 suggested. The exhibit provided a history of printed salutations and displayed an array of designs likely to inspire visitors as they made plans to spread their holiday wishes. A Century of the Greeting Card, held from November 25 to December 28, 1946, included Christmas and other holiday cards produced by English and American card manufacturers. On loan from Brownie's Blockprints, Inc. of New York City, the cards included then current designs from the 1940s as well as a print of the first Christmas card ever produced. (at left - Betty Maurstad, curator, is shown holding examples of the holiday cards in a photograph printed in the Minneapolis Tribune.)

In the 1840s, Sir Henry Cole (the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London) commissioned John Callcott Horsley, an artist from the Royal Academy, to design a card to send to friends at Christmas. Horsley's design portrayed a multi-generational family toasting the holidays (the child toasted too, as she or he is shown sipping from the wine glass). The greeting included a simple message:

"A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you."

It wasn't until the 1860s that the card business developed commercially. The greeting card economy crossed the pond in the 1870s when Louis Prang, a lithographer and publisher, referred to as "the father of the American Christmas card," began printing cards in the United States.

Though modern day greeting cards have become quite sophisticated, to include audio cards that allow you to record your own greeting, as well as increasingly complex and impressively staged photo greetings, I think I will take inspiration from Cole's first holiday card and respond to my mother that the simplest of greetings can often be among the best.

You can carry on the tradition of the greeting card by creating your own at WAM's annual holiday discount event, BeDazzled, on Wednesday, December 4, 2012 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Letterpress your own card with Studio on Fire and enjoy treats, music, discounts, and more!

Symphony Art Project

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Are you ever inspired by music? Are you a college student for whom a study session would be incomplete without "ear buds" habitually positioned in said ears and the latest up-and-coming sounds from emerging bands playing from your rotating playlist? (What are the kids listening to these days?) Are you an artist who prepares to paint/sculpt/etc. not only by setting out your materials and tools, but by also pressing play on your chosen audio transmitting device to start a carefully curated soundtrack to which you whistle to while you work? Musical inspiration and artistic creation was in the mind of Antal Dorati, director of the Minneapolis Symphony (known today as the Minnesota Orchestra) when he approached the Young People's Symphony Concert Association (YPSCA) in 1949 with a proposed program titled, Symphony Art Project.


SymphonyArt-Poster.jpgAn official invitation to participate in the 1955-1956 season of the Symphony Art Project by the YPSCA dated November 21, 1955, indicates that "For the benefit of those who may be participating for the first time..." a description of Dorati's impetus for creating the program is expressed: "to encourage a deeper sympathy and understanding for music in young people." Dorati "suggested that one way to arouse [student] interest would be through their expression in art media of the ideas and emotions gained in listening first to 'live music,' whenever possible, and secondly to recordings and broadcasts." (Original symphony recordings were provided to schools that could not send students to view a symphony concert in Northrop Auditorium.)


SymphonyInvitation1.jpg The invitation (at left) also provides additional background about the program, and includes rules and instructions for participation, noting that, "Pupils from kindergarten through high school may participate," and that "This is not a contest." The Young People's Symphony Concert Association sponsored the annual program, and schools from across the metro area participated. Each school displayed the art created by their students within their own buildings, and teachers later selected a representative example of works produced by their students to be included in a spring exhibition at the University Gallery.

Clippings found in the University Gallery press books show the students in the midst of creating their music-inspired works:

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Another clipping provides an example of student work. The Minneapolis Symphony program from March 23, 1956, shows a painting inspired by Fritz Kreisler's musical arrangement, "The Dancing Doll." The artist, student Marlene Gossel, described her inspiration, "I thought about pretty toe dancers twirling about."

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Though the Minnesota Orchestra is currently quiet, the organization still performs Young People's Concerts and holds other education and outreach programs and activities to spread the appreciation of symphony music to all ages.


*(All of this symphony-izing has subsequently inspired me to search for and listen to arrangements I remember playing in combined orchestra in high school... Yahoo!)

Twentieth Century Painters: The Sidney Janis Collection

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From the outset of the University Gallery program for the 1935-1936 academic year (the second year of its existence), the gallery's focus on contemporary art was evidenced by the first exhibit that opened that season. The Minneapolis Tribune reported that the exhibit - literally titled - Twentieth Century Painters, consisted of seventeen original paintings valued at $70,000 from the personal collection of Sidney Janis of New York City. Artists represented in the October exhibit included Henri Rosseau, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, and Arshile Gorky.


Cats_001_SidneyJanis_1935.jpgGallery curator Ruth Lawrence created a catalogue to provide explanatory material for the exhibit. Assistant to the President Malcolm Willey sent a copy of the catalogue to President Lotus Coffman, along with an accompanying note that promoted the profile of the exhibit in the infant gallery...

Malcolm Willey to President Coffman, October 25, 1935:

"I am attaching a catalog covering the exhibition now at the University Art Gallery. The catalog was written by Mrs. Lawrence. I do hope that during the showing of the Janis collection you and Mrs. Coffman will be able to visit the gallery. It is an exceedingly remarkable group of pictures and demonstrates better than I have ever seen it demonstrated, just how unbalanced art can sometimes become. It is, however, a very significant show and you will observe from the catalog that the paintings have hitherto been seen at relatively few places, but these important ones."

SidneyJanis1.jpgA list of the artworks displayed in the exhibit was also published in the Minneapolis Tribune (click on the newspaper clipping from the gallery press books at left to view the article).


Decades after the exhibit, art collector Sidney Janis donated many of the works from his private collection to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. From MOMA's online collection database, we can view images of a few of the paintings that were once featured in the University Gallery's October 1935 exhibit:

"Le Reve" (The Dream) - Henri Rosseau

"Nature Morte a la Guitare" (Glass, Guitar, and Bottle)" - Pablo Picasso

"Actor's Mask," "In the Grass," - Paul Klee


Art: A matter of appreciation...

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UA_Photos_FineArts_2.jpgWhen the Fine Arts Room first opened adjacent to the University Gallery in Northrop Auditorium in February 1936, the reaction amongst faculty and students was not that of unanimous approval. The room, designed by curator Ruth Lawrence with modern furnishings, was in stark contrast to other types of interior decoration then on campus. The room included a kapok circular couch, as well as venetian blinds and large blue floor length drapes. Lawrence even had the audacity to vary the paint color -- two walls were painted blue, the other two off-white. Dean of the College of Education, Melvin E. Haggerty, who was apparently shocked by the d├ęcor of the room -- as well as its purpose -- wrote to Malcolm Willey and President Lotus Coffman to express his concern:


FAR_Letter-Haggerty.jpgFebruary 7, 1936, Dean Haggerty to President Coffman :

My dear President Coffman:

You can see from the enclosure that I am in a bad temper, but some activities about the University cut so clearly across the general philosophy of our departmental program in the field of art that I have attempted to express myself probably more emphatically than you will feel is justified.

I shall be glad to have this manuscript back when you have read it, if you have the time to do so.

Sincerely,
M.E. Haggerty

Haggerty included a manuscript titled, "The Artist and the Layman," from a publication titled, "Arts & Progress," dated 1915, the main point of which argued that "the idea which distinguished the artist as a different kind of being from the layman has led to an unfortunate and unnecessary separation in artistic education." It further stated that in artistic training, even if an artist were to acquire the best technical training, he still has "little chance of knowing anything even about art. The one thing which he ought to have above anything else is critical judgment; and this can be formed only on the basis of serious and prolonged study of masterpieces of the past and of the present day."

Such thought was in contrast to the intent and purpose of the Fine Arts Room, which was opened not to rigorously train artists, but to provide access to art and cultivate artistic appreciation for ALL University students. When Dean Malcolm Willey first proposed opening a Fine Arts Room to President Coffman, he wrote that he was inspired by the "theory that true appreciation of fine art comes from being in presence of a fine object under ideal conditions." The origination of the Fine Arts Room was revealed in a letter Willey wrote to Coffman on June 1, 1935:

I should like to try the experiment of fitting up on our campus, as part of our attempt to increase interest in and appreciation of fine arts, a room which in its furnishings should be simple, but in impeccable taste, comfortable, and in every way lovely as a room. Into this I would put one art object at a time - one of the fine things we have bought... I would open this room as a retreat. No studying allowed, no textbooks admitted, no formal instruction. If the setting and the art object [cannot] induce the spell I am seeking, nothing else can.

Haggerty, not inclined to follow this philosophy, and still stirred up by the Fine Arts Room and the University's approach to arts appreciation, wrote another letter, this time to Dean Willey:

FAR_Letter-Haggerty2.jpgFebruary 10, 1936, Dean Haggerty to Dean Willey:

My dear Dean Willey:

Just by way of continuing the argument under conditions of complete sobriety and having the latest, if not the last, word I am enclosing an effusion which I got off my chest Friday.

Sincerely yours,
M.E. Haggerty




On the bottom of Haggerty's typed letter is a hand-written note from Willey to President Coffman, whom he likely forwarded the letter to:

My dear President Coffman,

At least Dean Haggerty plays fairly! He has sent me a copy of his reactions to the art room, which gives me the chance to continue our friendly discussion.

M.Willey


In President Coffman's reply to Dean Haggerty regarding the Fine Arts Room, and of art in general and its appreciation in the University, a reflection of Coffman's well-held educational beliefs are asserted:

February 13, 1936, President Coffman to Dean Haggerty:

I think there may be something to your surmise that you got out on the wrong side of the bed the morning you wrote your reflections on visiting the new fine art room in Northrop Memorial Auditorium.


I agree fully with your general position that we should create an environment which will be artistic and attractive, which means that attention should be given to the architecture and the general style of our buildings, to the improvement of campus, and to doing everything and anything that will in any way contribute to making our situation more attractive and beautiful. Now from this point I think we might begin to have some differences of opinion.

I do not believe that all art is associated with utility as I think that many researches are carried on with just the researcher having any thought or conception of their value or use. I should have pictures and other forms of art about the campus even though I don't understand them, just as I would have a beautiful chapel on the campus even though no one ever worshipped in it, or ever went there for prayers, or to hear the Scriptures read. I would have fine music played on the campus and I would reduce the rates, if I had my way, to a point which made it possible for the poorest to attend; I would do this even though I know that most of those who attend don't understand a thing that is being played. I have often thought that it would be a most interesting psychological study for one to take an inventory of the thoughts that race through the minds of a hundred or more persons in the audience at one of the Symphony concerts. I find, for example, that I think about everything under the sun. I would have people live in an environment every feature of which makes some artistic contribution and I really would try to teach students as much as possible about these features, for I believe that appreciation and genuine understanding are closely related.

Mr. Willey said you sent him a copy of your paper. I am glad that you did. He told me that you and he are carrying on an interesting and animated discussion on the subject of art. Who knows, maybe your letters and his will be published some day just as Royce's and James' letters have been published."

After reading this series of correspondence, a new appreciation is gained of President Coffman's early advocacy of the arts and his enlightened educational philosophy.

WPA: Visual Aids to Teachers of Art

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In her report titled, "University of Minnesota Gallery of Art," with "Mrs. Lawrence 25-year report" written in pencil across the top, long time gallery director Ruth Lawrence provided a 24 page background on all of the activities of the Gallery over the course of 25 years. A large portion of the report -- nearly seven pages -- outlined the Works Progress Administration (WPA) work projects assigned to the Gallery. Ruth reflected, "By February 6, 1938, significant changes were taking place, but greater ones were ahead. On that date the Emergency Relief Works Progress Administration assigned a project of 20 workmen to the Gallery."

From 1938-1942 WPA workers were assigned to annual work projects in the University Gallery. The main duties of their work consisted of developing an art reference service to support instruction at the University. Workers also created circulating exhibitions comprised of visual aids for teachers. These visual aids were matted, framed, and compiled by the WPA employees and distributed by the Junior League Clubs of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth. Exhibitors from elementary and secondary schools, teachers colleges, and other small arts organizations throughout the state could rent the visual aid exhibits for a fee that covered postage.

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Found within WAM's collection of exhibition catalogues was a stapled report titled, "Visual Aids to Teachers of Art" that included descriptions of the exhibits and how they could be rented. A booklet titled, "Horses in Art, Exhibition No. 101" was also found. This booklet, which contains instructions and a sample curriculum, accompanied the exhibit materials. Exhibits were comprised of 10 reproductions of old and contemporary artwork that were mounted to boards, designed to be set in the grooves of a chalk well and rest against classroom blackboards.

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After the outbreak of WWII, all WPA work at the University was re-assigned to the war effort, and the art reference service was scaled back to provide resources to University instructors and students only. Ruth reflected, "All traveling exhibitions were stopped. During the war years unfortunately, these were destroyed by a mysterious fire in the storage or fan room, beginning in the organ loft."

Thanks to the accessibility of the Minnesota Daily's PDF Archives, more information about the mysterious fire is gleaned when a search of the PDF Archives provided a copy of the November 5, 1942 edition of the newspaper, which contains the following headline, "Fire Destroys Northrop Art Works." The article begins,

A fire of undetermined origin burning for more than half an hour in the organ blower room, 303 Northrop auditorium, yesterday destroyed almost all of the art displays, and equipment stored in the room.


About $250 worth of picture frame moldings, ten elementary school art exhibits and numerous picture display board were burned.

Thanks to the WPA project reports, the existence and preservation of posters and catalogues, as well as additional resources such as the PDF Archives, we are able to learn more about the unique services and programs that the Gallery once provided.

Hudson Walker: Curator, Patron, Friend

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In a report compiled by long-time gallery director Ruth Lawrence to reflect upon the 25th anniversary of the Little Gallery in 1959, a section titled, "The First Curator," described Hudson D. Walker's background and his brief, though instrumental, role in the foundation of the Weisman Art Museum as The Little Gallery in 1934:

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"The University was most fortunate in obtaining Hudson Walker, who in March, 1934, was appointed the Gallery's first curator of art. Mr. Walker was experienced in Gallery operations and management. He was the grandson of Mr. T. B. Walker, founder of the Walker Art Gallery. Hudson Walker was no novice in the functioning of a museum. He had been trained at the Fogg Museum, Harvard University, for work such as this. He knew the practical side, the importance of shipping and care of works of art worth thousands of dollars. He was especially aware of the responsibility of borrowed works. He had developed a small gallery of his own in Minneapolis, dealing in such works as watercolors, woodcuts, etchings, etc."

Walker was officially appointed to the title of "Curator of Art" at the University in March of 1934, and departed at the end of his appointment in June in order to pursue the establishment of a gallery in New York City. However, his role with the University of Minnesota and the Little Gallery did not conclude with the end of his employment. Walker's relationship would inspire additional titles in relation to his contributions to the University and to the museum.

Lawrence's description of the First Curator only briefly touches upon the work done by Walker in those few months he was employed at the U of M. For the very first exhibit that was held at the gallery, he arranged for the loan of 18th and 19th century paintings from regional art museums, and covered the expense to insure the works out of his own pocket. At his departure, Walker imparted some advice to university administration that would shape the formation of the gallery in its formative years. He emphasized to Assistant to the President Malcolm Willey that "There should be some anchorage provided in the way of a permanent collection to insure a permanency of interest" and added that the gallery should emphasize a "workshop character" as opposed to the "traditional notion of a museum as a place for safekeeping of rare objects."

In 1950, Walker placed works from his private collection on loan to the University of Minnesota. The loan included many pieces by the artists Alfred Maurer and Marsden Hartley. He, along with his wife Ione, also made many generous gifts of artwork and additional donations to the gallery in the following years.

WalkerOutstandingService.jpgIn 1965, Walker became an award winner and honoree when he received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Minnesota Alumni Association. A letter (at left, click for a pop-up to read) from the President of the Minnesota Alumni Association addressed to Gallery curator Betty Maurstad, extended a formal invitation to the ceremony that was held to present Walker with the award.

In conjunction with Walker's receipt of this award, an exhibit titled One Hundred Paintings Drawings and Prints from the Ione and Hudson D. Walker Collection was held from November 4-December 19, 1965 at the University Gallery. A dedication by University of Minnesota President O. Meredith Wilson, printed within the catalogue that was prepared for the exhibition stated, "The collection of Mr. and Mrs. Walker is an important resource in furthering the University of Minnesota objectives of teaching, research and service and has aided immeasurably the University's development of significant programs in the visual arts."

Exhibition catalogue, One Hundred Paintings Drawings and Prints from the Ione and Hudson D. Walker Collection:
100-Walker_1965_Catalogue_Reduced-1.jpg 100-Walker_1965_Catalogue_Reduced-2.jpg

Polaroid photographs taken at the exhibit opening show Walker amongst other attendees in the hallways and stairwell that lead to the gallery in Northrop Auditorium:
(click on the image for a larger version)
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WalkerExhibitOutline.jpgA drawing of a proposed gallery layout for the exhibit was found in the exhibition file in Box 11 of WAM's archived administration records. From the drawing, (at left, click for pop-up to review) one can assume that the exhibit was split into sections-one section of 22 miscellaneous works from Walker's collection, another section that contained 12 works by the artists Alfred Maurer, another room dedicated to 14 large Marsden Hartley paintings, and a final section of Alfred Maurer graphic works, that appear to have been placed in the hallway that lead to the gallery.

More polaroids were found in the exhibition folder that show the works displayed in the gallery space:

Alfred Maurer, "Portrait of a Girl with Gray Background," 1930, oil on composition board
WAM004_011_WalkerCollection-04.jpg

(1) Alfred Maurer, "Two Heads," 1930, oil on composition board
(2) Alfred Maurer, "Two Figures of Girls," 1926, oil on composition board
(3) Alfred Maurer, "Still Life with Cup," 1929, oil on composition board

WAM004_011_WalkerCollection-14.jpg

Artworks by Marsden Hartley, as displayed in the exhibit:

WAM004_011_WalkerCollection-10.jpg WAM004_011_WalkerCollection-13.jpg


An additional item found alongside the polaroids in the exhibition folder is a note from Walker to President Wilson that expressed Walker's appreciation for the acknowledgement he received from the University:
(click on image for larger pop-up version)
WAM004_011_WalkerCollection-Letter3.jpg

Two additional titles were given to Walker on the occasion of a 1977 memorial exhibition titled, Hudson D. Walker: Patron and Friend. The exhibition commemorated Walker and the bequest of his collection to the museum.

Regardless of how one refers to Hudson Walker when recalling the history of the museum - first curator, patron, or friend - it is clear that no appellation can truly capture all of the contributions that he has made to its legacy.

Korean Art Exchange

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WAM is noted first and foremost for its collection of American modernism - works produced during the first half of the 20th century. This is certainly due to the presence of the world's largest collection of the works of Marsden Hartley and Alfred Maurer, as well as a large collection of pieces created by Works Progress Administration (WPA) artists.

Yet many events significant in the history of the University of Minnesota, of which the museum is a part, also relate to the museum's permanent collection. One such event occurred in 1957, when the University participated in an art exchange with Seoul National University in Korea. Work completed by University of Minnesota students and faculty were sent to Seoul National University and vice versa, in an exchange that contributed an artistic component to the on-going partnership that the two universities established in 1954.

WAM_006_January_Poste-r.jpgThe exhibit of Korean student and faculty work was held at the University Gallery in the winter of 1957. Several of the works within the exhibit were presented as gifts to the University from Seoul National University, and are now part of the museum's permanent collection. (Three of these works are currently on display in the museum's Korea Foundation Gallery, and compliment the museum's collection of Korean furniture: Soo-Hyun Ro, "Autumn," 1956; Woo Sung Chang, "Chrysanthemum," 1956; "Grapes," 1956.)

Prior to the art exchange, a partnership with Seoul National University began with a request from the Foreign Operations Administration to the University of Minnesota to aid Seoul National in recovery and reconstruction following the aftermath of the Korean War. An advisory committee was named by University President J.L. Morrill to implement a program of improvement at Seoul National. Architects, doctors, agricultural researchers, engineers, and higher education administrators spent time in residence at Seoul National to advise and assist with the development of coursework and training. Young faculty from Korea traveled to Minnesota to train at the university. The desired result was to rebuild the infrastructure at Seoul National - upgrade heating and plumbing systems, train faculty in emerging technologies, and build supplies of textbooks and equipment. Read a full description of the collaboration in the December 1956 edition of The Minnesotan on the Digital Conservancy (PDF page 35).

Clippings from various local print sources found within the University Gallery Press Books report upon the exhibit and include photographs that capture some of the works displayed:

*Click on the image for a pop-up of a larger version.

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Summer Exhibits

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July is here! In a matter of weeks the The WAM Files: The Art of the Archives exhibit will open at the museum. While we patiently wait for the opening date, take a look back at exhibits from summers past through some of the promotional materials that were created to publicize them :

*Click on the image for a pop-up to a larger version.


Summer, 1956

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Summer, 1957

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Summer 1958

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Stop by WAM July 14th to see some of these posters (and others) in person!

Something fishy...

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The recent opening of WAM's summer show, Tenuous, Though Real, which features Minnesota artists, has me wondering - What makes a Minnesotan? There are certainly stereotypes - such as the tendency to accentuate vowels in verbal conversation, knowing the definition of the term "lutefisk," and harboring a preferential way in which one prepares "lefsa" (If it isn't with brown sugar, than all I have to say is... Ufda.)

I am a true Minnesotan, born and raised. However, I must confess that my identity as related to my home state is devoid of one common stereotype: I have never "gone fishing." That is right... I have never put bait to hook, nor fly to reel... Growing up, the "great outdoors" was experienced at the ballpark rather than on one of the many thousands of MN lakes... (In fact, my hometown resides in the only county in the state without a natural lake.)

FishFormsCat.jpgDespite never experiencing the thrill of a big catch, I still understand and recognize the importance of the "fish" in MN culture. This understanding was likely the inspiration for an exhibit held at the University Gallery in the spring of 1955 titled, "Fish Forms in Art." The works on display captured the form of the fish in a variety of mediums and represented many cultures.

A University Press Release from April 7, 1955 described the exhibit:


... an attempt was made to get objects representative of all major areas and periods in the history of art. [The] largest single group is made of works of contemporary artists such as Picasso, Braque, Lachaise, Lurcat, and Masson. The oldest piece in the showing of 97 objects is a slate palette in the shape of a fish dating from the predynastic period in Egypt (before 3200 B.C.) and loaned by the University Museum, Philadelphia... Because China and Korea consider the fish in special esteem, the two countries are represented by example of porcelain, painting and carving in ivory and jade. From America, Indian pottery from the southwest is shown along with a carved polychrome wood garden fountain...

Materials created to support and promote the exhibit include an exhibit catalog (above) as well as posters that were likely posted on campus bulletin boards.

WAM_005_Posters_1954-1955_3.jpg WAM_005_Posters_1954-1955_2.jpg


Photographs from the exhibit found in Box 5 of the WAM collection at the University Archives:
*Click on the photo for a pop-up to a larger version.

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