Sunday, October 11, 2015

Exploring Art in Iowa

A weekend road trip of 800+ miles on October 10-11, 2015 from St. Louis to Des Moines and Davenport (IA) and back with six passionate art fans looking to put their association with the Laumeier Sculpture Park into a kind of perspective is sure to be an eclectic collection of people. So we were: Shown above (l. to r).at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park flanking Paul Kasal – our expert and awesome docent wearing a t-shirt with the apt advertising claim“Entirely Unexpected” are Maureen Jennings, Melissa Loraine Stone, Ann Baur and Wes Morgan, Liz Murphy and Hank Baur .

The weekend included three wonderful art experiences hosted by expert docents in Des Moines and a first rate academic from the University of Iowa at the Figge in Davenport. We filled gaps in our itinerary with meal occasions,lost car keys,smart phone misdirections and periodic absent-mindedness but overall we feel like we enjoyed a huge dose of unexpected excellence, representative art and a few smiles.     
JOHN & MARY PAPPAJOHN SCULPTURE PARK - Located within a major crossroads of the urban grid in downtown Des Moines the park is in an accessible setting with a skilled landscape design. It is unlike any other sculpture park in the United States. Paul, our docent introduced us to more than two dozen stunning examples of world class public art.
DES MOINES ART CENTER - Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum has a noteworthy art collection and boasts an outstanding collection of architecture too. Three architects collaborated in the design of the museum, Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei and Richard Meier. We were treated to a wonderful stroll from gallery space to gallery space and delighted by the unexpected excellence of significant works that felt as leisurely as leafing through a folio that might accompany a brilliantly planned overview of the history of modern and contemporary art.  

FIGGE ART MUSEUM University of Iowa Museum of Art curator Kimberly Datchuck assured us of a tight presentation of a special exhibition entitled Exploring the Demimonde: Sin and Temptation at the fin-de-si├Ęcle. She smoothly walked us through the special exhibition leaving time for our crew to also take in the permanent collection. A bonus: The Figge landmark glass building in Davenport, IA on the banks of the Mississippi was designed by British architect David Chipperfield.


Keith Harring at Sculpture Park, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) at Des Moines Art Center, Nomade by Jaume Plensa at the Sculpture Park, Liz Murphy in front of a Mark Rothko at the Des Moines Art Center and Sol LeWitt at the Figge Art Museum