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Unveiling a new semester at the IU Art Museum



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IU Art Mueum is opening a new exhibition, Nature's Small Wonders: Photographs by Ansel Adams. Duo Xu and Duo Xu Buy Photos

From famous American photographer Ansel Adams to artifacts from World War I to a small collection of traditional African hats, the IU Art Museum has an eclectic group of exhibits this semester.

Opened Tuesday, “Nature’s Small Wonders: Photographs by Ansel Adams” will be a major highlight of the semester that offers a different look at the work of the world-renowned American photographer, Abe Morris, manager of communications and public relations at the Art Museum, said.

The display is presented in conjunction with Sycamore Land Trust, a regional nonprofit organization focused on preserving and restoring the natural heritage of southern Indiana. In honor of Sycamore’s 25th anniversary, it seemed fitting to choose an artist that shared values similar to the organization’s. As a nature photographer and conservationist, Adams made the most logical choice.

The special display will showcase eight of Adams’s pieces and focus on a detail-oriented view of nature, rather than Adams’s signature landscapes that viewers are used to. Images will include flowers, leaves, roots, rocks and water ripples, all subjects that one might associate with the work of Adams.

Along with his reputation for being an avid environmentalist, one of his featured pieces will be a photographic frieze of the Rocky Mountains’ Quaking Aspen trees, whose numbers have been declining since 2006 as a result of sudden Aspen decline.

Morris said there will be a screening of the film “Photography As An Art” at the IU Cinema later this semester. The film focuses on discovery and rediscovery through the photographs of Ansel Adams, who is shown working in Yosemite National Park. There will also be a joint panel discussion with Nan Brewer, IU Art Museum’s Lucienne M. Glaubinger, curator of Works on Paper; Christian Freitag, executive director of the Sycamore Land Trust; Frank Lewis, lecturer in Arts Administration; and Ric Cradick, ?photographer.

“There (are) a lot of commonalities between us and the museum, and our supporters love his photography,” Katrina Folsom, communications director of the Sycamore Land Trust Fund, said of the relationship between Sycamore and the Art Museum and the decision to use Adams’s photography.

Also beginning this week, two war bond posters from World War I, one French and one American, will be featured to build on the theme of the gallery of Dada and Constructivism: World War I and Radical Modernism. These posters represent much of the historical significance in World War I.

“Since it was the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I last year and IU is doing a series of related programs for the full academic year, I wanted to do a special new exhibit in the gallery installation around this theme,” Brewer said in an email.

Posters were a huge form of advertising that promoted enlistment, raised funds for the war effort and unified the nations’ publics against the enemy.

Each poster features the same subject: a German soldier. The two have distinctly different styles, however, and effects based on their home nations.

“When I discovered that Professor Brett Bowles in the French department had a fabulous collection of French World War I posters, it seemed like a perfect fit,” Brewer said of the contrast between the two pieces.

“I think that they make a nice comparison in terms of style and attitude.”

A few of the other new exhibits that are expected to spark some interest this semester are “Fantastic African Hats: Power, Passage and Protection,” opening Feb. 17, and “Pop Textiles,” opening Jan. 27.

“Pop Textiles” includes three pieces by pop ?artists Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Lindner and Claes ?Oldenburg.

However, their large sizes and vibrant colors make them stand out amongst several other pieces.

Unlike some of the other exhibits, these fabric compositions blend multiple categories from the artistic world — a mixture of fine art, craft and industrial production.

The exhibit is located on the first floor of the museum in the Gallery of the Art of the Western World, Doris Steinmetz Kellet Endowed Gallery of Twentieth-Century Art.

For those interested in garments and adornments, history behind trade and commerce, or African art, “Fantastic African Hats: Power, Passage and Protection” is an exhibit that offers a place to experience all three.

The collection features 12 lavishly decorated African hats, each with a story behind it.

Certain hats serve as a sign of status to their owners, while others are used for protection. Organized by Brittany Sheldon, ?graduate assistant for the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific and the Americas, the exhibit will be in the Raymond and Laura Wielgus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific and the Americas Focalpoint, located on the third floor.

“Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone” will be on display beginning in March and was originally shown at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The exhibit was organized by the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts and is now making its way to the IU Art Museum. This is the first big art exhibit in the U.S. that features these ?countries.

The Mathers Museum will also have a symposium on William Siegmann, IU alumnus and former curator of African art at the Brooklyn Museum, who collected the pieces for this exhibit.

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