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Windmills to Workshops: Lawrence and the Visual Arts
July 17 - Septmber 26, 2004
One hundred fifty years ago, members of the New England Emigrant Aid Company traveled from Massachusetts to territorial Kansas, where they founded the city of Lawrence. Besides hoping to profit from the lucrative business of land speculation, the company wanted to create "a city on a hill" that would be a beacon for religious freedom and educational excellence in the fledgling territory. (right: Margaret Evelyn Whittemore, American, 1897-1983, Lawrence, Windmill, linocut. Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas: 0000.0528)
In conjunction with the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Celebration, the Spencer celebrates the artistic freedom and excellence of Lawrence in Windmills to Workshops: Lawrence and the Visual Arts, on view in the Kress Gallery and South Balcony Gallery from July 17 through Sept. 26. The exhibition, composed solely from the Spencer's permanent collection, highlights works of art documenting sites, individuals, and events related to this city. Featured artists include Albert Bloch, Roger Shimomura, Earl Iversen, Cynthia Schira, Larry Schwarm, Ward Lockwood, Keith Jacobshagen, William S. Burroughs and Virginia Randles.
Windmills to Workshops: Lawrence and the Visual Arts is divided into four thematic sections:
Kate Meyer, curatorial assistant in the department of prints and drawings, organized the exhibition, assisted by curatorial interns Tera Lee Hedrick, Sean Barker, Emily Stamey, and Michelle Moseley Christian, and student assistants Jennifer Green and Sara Williamson.
As part of the exhibition's emphasis on local workshops, the work of Orval Hixon's Main Street Studio, a portrait photography studio that operated in Lawrence for over 40 years, will be on view in the South Balcony Gallery. Selections of the museum's archive of prints from Mike Sims' Lawrence Lithography Workshop, incidentally celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, are exhibited in the final room of the Kress Gallery. (left: Larry W. Schwarm, American, born 1944, Earth, Fire, and Water, Z-Bar Ranch, Chase County, Kansas-1994, 1994, Kodacolor print. Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, museum purchase: Terry and Sam Evans Fund, 1998.0052)
"While working with the Spencer Museum of Art's capable team of curatorial interns and student assistants to select and research the strongest examples of work by eligible artists for this exhibition, I could not help but wonder if any common vision of a spirit of Lawrence would be visible," Meyer says. "Such a common bond seemed unlikely as the art in this exhibition varies in style, medium, and content. Yet, I think that in these works a keen interest and fascination with line and a strong appreciation of space -- either in its sparseness or vastness -- emerges.
"It is reasonable to suggest that both the state's subtle but distinctive geography and Lawrence's often-turbulent social history have influenced many artists. It is my hope that this exhibition will reflect the rich community and artistic legacy of Lawrence. The Spencer Museum of Art's collection of work by artists affiliated with this city is something to be celebrated, both on this important anniversary, and always." (right: Orval Hixon, American, 1884-1982, Portrait of G. Theda Bara, 1921, silver print. Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas: Gift of Orval Hixon, 1971.0238)
Selected public programs for Windmills to Workshops: Lawrence and the Visual Arts
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