Spirit: A Celebration of Art in the Heartland
March 15 – April 5, 2008
The exhibition Spirit: A Celebration of Art in the Heartland opens at MONA on March 15 and features nearly 140 artworks representing media from oil paint to bronze, fiber to ceramic, and styles from traditional cowboy art to cutting edge contemporary. Spirit culminates with a Patron Preview Reception and Sale on April 4 and a Gala Dinner and Art Auction on April 5.
Spirit is under the talented leadership of Chairs Sharon and Bill Griffin along with Vice Chairs Tami and Jerry Hellman and Beth and Clay Smith. Together with their very active Spirit Committee members, they have put together a splendid array of weekend activities.
The Spirit Patron Package starts on Friday evening, April 4, with the Patron Preview Reception. Those attending the Reception have the first opportunity to meet the artists and purchase artwork at the special “No Haggle/No Hassle” price. On Saturday, April 5, patrons can enjoy crane viewing at Rowe Sanctuary, a tour of Kearney’s Trails and Rails Museum, and afternoon tea at Kearney’s historic Frank House including an artist demonstration or a tour of Geo. Spencer Vineyards in Gibbon. Golf at Kearney Country Club or Meadowlark Golf Course is also an option, weather permitting.
The Gala Dinner and Art Auction, taking place at MONA, feature an improved “pavilion style” tent and the silent and live auctions include a truly grand spectrum of Nebraska’s artists of today.
The Patron Package is $250 per person and includes all events, with the golf option priced separately. The Gala Dinner and Art Auction tickets are $90 for MONA members and $110 for others; a table of 10 is $1,000.
Those who plan to stay overnight in Kearney are encouraged to make hotel reservations early. Call Country Inn and Suites at (308) 237-4400, Holiday Inn at (308) 237-5971, or the Wingate Inn at (308) 237-4400 and mention Spirit to receive a special rate.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to take the outstanding work of some of Nebraska’s most celebrated artists home with you. Mark your 2008 calendar now for Spirit: A Celebration of Art in the Heartland, April 4 & 5.
20th Century Nebraska Printmakers
January 8 – March 12, 2008
A large survey of etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and other print forms, selected from MONA’s vault, is exhibited alongside several borrowed works to highlight a century of printmaking in Nebraska. Favorite and notable artists from the collection include Karen Kunc, Turner McGehee, Rudy Pozzatti, and John Falter. Invited artists are Gary Day, Victoria Goro-Rapoport, and Francisco Souto. Chronologically showcased, this exhibition displays traditional imagery and techniques from the early 20th century to some of the most innovative printmaking at the close. Diversity in content and process is prevalent – showing the changes that occurred during the 100 years.
Rudy Pozzatti and Karen Kunc are both influential national and international printmakers who exemplify the impressive work created by artists with ties to Nebraska. Rudy Pozzatti, born in Telluride, Colorado in 1925, taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1950 to 1956. While in Nebraska, Pozzatti worked with fellow artists Jeanne Herron Richards and Freda Spaulding, printmakers also included in this exhibition. Pozzatti’s printmaking is bold, gestural, expressive with recurrent themes of flora and fauna, politics and power, religion and spirituality, reflecting his many travels to Italy and throughout the world. In 1956, Pozzatti was recruited to teach at Indiana University in Bloomington where he founded Echo Press. Lasting 16 years, it was a high-level workshop that admitted only eight to twelve students each year who worked alongside well-established professional artists. Throughout his career, Pozzatti has been a visiting artist at 22 universities in North America and has had over 150 one-man exhibitions at such major museums as the Art Institute of Chicago and Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. His work is represented in more than 200 public collections worldwide ranging from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. He has received many honors and commissions including a Nebraska Governor’s Arts Award in 1981.
A Nebraska native, Karen Kunc is University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Professor of Printmaking. She is particularly known for her expertise in woodcuts. Instantly recognizable, Kunc’s small- to large-scale prints are often bold, colorful, and dynamic but equally soft, subtle, and quietly resonant with their varying shapes and patterns that find influence in sights, sounds, and movements of nature. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1975 followed by a Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University in 1977. After teaching printmaking at Columbus College of Art and Design from 1978 to 1983, she joined the art faculty at her undergraduate alma mater. While at UNL, she has also served as visiting faculty at such institutions as the University of California, Berkeley; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and as a Guest Professor at Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, Reykjavik, Iceland. Kunc’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and the Philadelphia Art Museum, Pennsylvania.
Other artists included in 20th Century Nebraska Printmakers range from less familiar names such as Pearl Love Miller, Alice Louise McCoun, and Harald Salberg to Regionalists who worked in the print medium: Thomas Hart Benton, Aaron Gunn Pyle, and Dale Nichols. Together, all the artists and the prints they create document the enormous variety within the printmaking medium.
Joel Sartore Photographs: On the Land
January 15 – March 9, 2008
As a National Geographic contributing photographer, Joel Sartore has traveled the world. His experiences with the internationally-renowned magazine have ranged from traversing the Alaskan wilderness to traipsing into the Amazon rainforest to walking the very plains of Nebraska where he grew up. On the Land, comprised of photographs primarily taken from 2003 to 2005, documents some of these travels but yet has a deeper purpose. Committed to conservation, Sartore investigates and brings to light through the immediacy of photography along with commentary and quotes, human relationship with the earth and questions our responsibility to it.
On the Land consists of 39 color photographs covering four regions in North and South America: Alaska’s North Slope; the Western states of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico; the Patanal region of Brazil; and the Rocky Mountain Front and Great Plains. Sartore’s photographs of each region focus on potential or already set-in-order economic progression and the effect they can or are already taking on their ecosystem – for good or bad. In Alaska’s North Slope, oil drilling threatens America’s largest wilderness. Poorly regulated gas drilling in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico has decimated the landscape as well as threatened ground water for fish and well fields. In the Patanal region of southwest Brazil, great strides have been taken to preserve the land while yet being economically viable through ecotourism. Currently intact, the Rocky Mountain Front faces a threat since it harbors natural gas reserves. Conversely, in the Great Plains, much of the tallgrass prairie is lost to farmland but is now on an upswing.
Striking images are compelling such as The Price of Gas, a photograph of a homeowner holding up a glass of water in her kitchen that, murky at best, is the result of a now unusable well. As the companion text states, “The well’s contents turned into a methane slurry after coal bed methane development began nearby.” It is hard not to be moved by these documentary images that are both disturbing and yet beautiful. While the images are pointed, the commentary and quotes both by Sartore and Lincoln author Dan Semrad are unabashed in their directness and speak to their passion for the environment.
A native Nebraskan, Joel Sartore has over 20 years of experience as a professional photographer. Primarily known for his 17-year relationship with National Geographic, Sartore has also worked with Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated as well as completed numerous book projects. In addition, his work has been the subject of national broadcasts including National Geographic’s Explorer series, the NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition, CBS Sunday Morning, and an hour-long PBS documentary. Awards include selection as a Distinguished Alumni at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications; First Place, Natural History Single at the 60th Annual Picture of the Year Competition; and Featured Photography for VISA Pour L’Image photography show, Perpignan, France. Sartore began his career in photography at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where, in 1985, he completed a degree in journalism. In 1990, he went on to become a photographer for The Wichita Eagle before beginning with National Geographic in 1990. Sartore resides in Lincoln with his family.
Nebraska Now: Leslie Iwai, Installation
January 12 – April 13, 2008
Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!
This familiar rhyme from the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” provides the title and reference for Omaha artist Leslie Iwai’s Nebraska Now exhibition, Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum! By using the classic children’s story to reflect modern day realities, the artist explores themes of passivity/violence, joy/grief, hope/despair, justice/injustice through this full-scale installation accompanied by daily performance work – the first exhibition of its kind to take place at MONA.
Fairy tales, while today commonly perceived as intended for children, once found their audiences among adults. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that they were classified as children’s literature. A common thread among the tales is one of violence, which would be hard to find in a contemporary children’s book, yet the classic stories are frequently and freely told. This dichotomy is one that Iwai takes note of and parallels with problems found throughout the world today. In 2005, the artist spent four months in the ravaged country of Sierra Leone. There, she confronted the lives and stories of children who had been affected by atrocities first-hand – either through being orphaned, kidnapped, or physically harmed. This exhibition brings the artist and viewers face to face with such realities and how, while we know they exist, are sometimes easy to dismiss in a comfort-filled world.
Images: Leslie Iwai
In this installation, Iwai plays the role of the giant in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” As she creates tallies with chalk on tar paper-lined walls of the gallery, she brings to mind the “killing and marginalizing of nameless and faceless young victims, both domestic and abroad.” The artist then grinds the chalk down to utilize in the baking of bread – calling on the line “I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.” While dark and heavy could best seem to describe Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!, the exhibition is one that ultimately touches on hope and beauty and how they intersect or even thrive in a world of daily violence and heartache. As an artist deeply committed to her faith, Iwai is intent on being a voice that cries out and brings to light things that are often lost in our daily lives.
In 1994, Leslie Iwai received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska. Two years later, she attended the Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland through a studio and travel program in association with Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (VPISU), Blacksburg, Virginia. In 1998, Iwai graduated from VPISU with a Master of Architecture and Urban Studies degree. Career highlights include the first Bemis Community Arts Fellowship in 2005, an Omaha Public Art Commission Award in 2004, and the 2007 Sheldon Connections 2 exhibition at Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska. Iwai’s teaching experiences in art and architecture include those at the College of Architecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; College of Fine Arts, Department of Art and Art History, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska; and the Hope Center for Kids, Omaha, Nebraska.
Audubon Selections: Canids from the Wilds of Nebraska
January 15 – March 14, 2008
Today several canids can be found in Nebraska – the red fox, grey fox, swift fox, and the coyote. In times past the gray wolf was a resident of the state; however, the pioneer expansion of the 1800s desperately depleted the numbers of larger mammals that the wolves fed on. Gray wolves turned to domestic animals for food, becoming despised enemies of settlers. The animal, once found in the U.S. ranging from Mexico to Canada, was nearly extinct in 1973 when the Endangered Species Act marked them as a protected group.
Practice your skills as a naturalist. Join us at MONA to define the differences between these similar, yet obviously different, animals of Nebraska.
Journey Through Time: Art Tells the History of Nebraska, II
Through March 2, 2008
Solomon Butcher Photographs
class="cap">Through August 10, 2008
From August 21, 2007 through March 9, 2008, Solomon Butcher Photographs features the second rotation of selected images that pays tribute to Nebraska’s rich history. Complementing the Butcher images are photography equipment and glass plate negatives similar to that used in the late 1800s and early 1900s, on loan from Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. An electronic guide in the gallery shows how digitizing the Butcher collection reveals lost history discovered in the photographs.
Third Thursdays at MONA
Last September, MONA began a new program, Third Thursdays at MONA, an art sampler featuring artists and performers from central Nebraska. From 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. every third Thursday from September through April, individuals gather at MONA to hear short presentations in music, poetry, or perhaps a short scene from an upcoming theatre offering or a dance demonstration, as well as a discussion of a MONA artwork. All the galleries are open and everyone is invited to enjoy light refreshments, visit with each other, and view the current exhibitions in a convivial and relaxing setting.
The second season promises to be as successful as our first. The Spring 2008 dates are:
• January 17