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Three new exhibitions at Krannert Art Museum

Melissa Mitchell , Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Three new exhibitions will open on a staggered schedule throughout January at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Krannert Art Museum. All three will be on view through April 13.

Opening first, on Jan. 17, is "The Idea of Landscape in the Western Tradition: Works From the Permanent Collection." Curated by Illinois art history professor Rachael DeLue, the exhibition features paintings, photographs, works on paper and glassware, and explores the diverse ways in which European and American artists have interpreted and represented the idea of landscape during the past 300 years.

DeLue will present a guided tour of the exhibition at 1 p.m. on March 9, prior to the WILL-FM "Second Sunday" concert at the museum.

Also opening this month, on Jan. 24, is "The Beginning of Seeing: Tribal Art and the Pictographs of Adolph Gottlieb." The exhibition brings together Gottlieb’s personal collection of non-Western art and his pictographs – grid-like paintings that brought him to the attention of critics and museum directors and curators. Gottlieb, along with other modernist artists working from the 1920s-’40s, was inspired by what was then considered to be examples of "primitivism" or "tribal arts." Gottlieb’s collection includes works from Central and South America, Mexico, Oceania and the South Pacific.

Organized by the New Britain (Conn.) Museum of American Art, the exhibition includes tribal objects from Gottlieb’s collection on loan from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and paintings on loan from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation; Neuberger Museum of Art, State University of New York at Purchase; Montclair (N.J.) Art Museum; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; and other museums.

An opening reception, free and open to the public, is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 24.

Several events have been organized to coincide with the exhibition:

  • Jan. 30, 10 a.m., exhibition walk-through and discussion with Josef Helfenstein, the museum director.
  • Feb. 8, 10 a.m., "Kids at Krannert," featuring story-telling, music and an opportunity for children to create their own pictographs.
  • Feb. 9, 1 p.m., gallery tour led by Helfenstein prior to the WILL-FM "Second Sunday" concert.
  • Feb. 12, 10 a.m., East Gallery, "Colloquium on Gottlieb’s Pictographs and the Collection That Inspired His Works," coordinated by Illinois art history professors Jordana Mendelson and Dana Rush. Box lunches are available, but require pre-registration; to register, call (217) 333-1861.
  • March 8, 9 a.m.-noon, East Gallery, "Who is Primitive? Multicultural Inspiration in Adolph Gottlieb’s Pictographs," a workshop for educators, presented by museum curator Michael Conner. The workshop will include a presentation, tour, hands-on activity and discussion. For further information or to register for the free workshop, call (217) 333-1861.
  • April 3, 7 p.m., Tryon Festival Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, "Stefan Wolpe and Abstract Expressionism," a pre-concert discussion with Helfenstein and Illinois music professor Guy Garnett. The discussion precedes an 8 p.m. concert, "Stefan Wolpe: Student, Teacher … Composer," featuring the Williams/Bugallo Duo with Nicholas Hodges.

The third exhibition opening this month at Krannert Art Museum, on Jan. 31, is "Creativity in Print: Artistic Interactions Through the Work of Edward Weston." Curated by Jordana Mendelson’s art history students, the exhibition is part of the "Featured Works" series that highlights works from the museum’s permanent collection.

The show explores the relationships between Weston and many of his photographic subjects; among them, Ansel Adams, Anita Brenner, Jean Charlot, Robinson Jeffers, Tina Modotti and Igor Stravinsky. The theme was selected as a framework for considering the creative contributions of these artists, writers and musicians in the first half of the 20th century.

Events corresponding with the exhibition:

  • Feb. 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m., reception and gallery talk with the curators.
  • March 5, 4:30 p.m., "Behind the Scenes," an informal discussion with the curators on planning an exhibition.
  • April 9, noon, "Poets, Musicians, and Artists: Weston’s Portraiture in the 1930s," a gallery talk by the curators.

Krannert Art Museum is a unit of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Illinois. The museum is located at the corner of Sixth Street and Peabody Drive in Champaign, one block east of Memorial Stadium. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; until 8 p.m. on Wednesday; and from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.