An opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held at the Hillstrom Museum of Art on Monday, February 13, 2017, 7 to 9 p.m., for the Museum's new exhibitions Made in U.S.A.: Rosenquist/Ruscha, and Recent Acquisitions, both on view February 13-April 23, 2017.
Made in U.S.A. pairs works by two of the most influential and complex artists working in the Pop Art genre, James Rosenquist (born 1933) and Ed Ruscha (born 1937). Both grew up in the Midwest in the 1940s, but Rosenquist went to New York (from Minnesota) and Ruscha went to Los Angeles (from Oklahoma). Both worked as commercial artists early in their careers, Rosenquist as a billboard painter and Ruscha as a layout artist for an advertising agency. And both revel in the mind-opening poetics of ordinary everyday imagery, though their approaches are quite different. Rosenquist's work is characterized by his wild smash-ups of seemingly disjointed images, which can be viewed as expressive of the intense compression of imagery he encountered in New York, a "hot,” east coast approach. Ruscha, on the other hand, responded to the more isolated, horizontal, open spaces of Southern California, and he frequently uses words as images in creating his "cool,” west coast images.
The works in Made in U.S.A. span the careers of the two artists and were selected from the vast collection of contemporary prints and multiples from Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, which makes its holdings of post-war prints and multiples available without exhibition fees. The Hillstrom Museum of Art is grateful to Mr. Schnitzer for his passion for art, and to both him and his Family Foundation for making it possible for Made in U.S.A. to appear here. And the Museum is also grateful to the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation for a generous grant to help finance shipping costs associated with Made in U.S.A.
In conjunction with Made in U.S.A., a dance program titled The Culture of Movement, choreographed and performed by students in the Dance Composition II class taught by Gustavus faculty member Jill Patterson, will be presented in the Museum on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. and again from 7:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Concurrent with Made in U.S.A. will be shown Recent Acquisitions, featuring ten recently-acquired artworks including oil paintings, prints, and sculpture in glass. All were donated directly to the Hillstrom Museum of Art or acquired by the Museum with funds resulting from donations. The works are all by American artists and they include works by two members of The Eight, the group of artists who changed the course of American art when they exhibited together in 1908 at New York's Macbeth Gallery. This group forms the core of the Hillstrom Collection and works by these artists and others included in this exhibit fulfill the main collecting priority of the Museum, which is works that extend the collecting area and philosophy of Museum namesake Richard L. Hillstrom. Other donations relate to other Museum collecting goals, including works that reflect the Swedish heritage of Gustavus Adolphus College and that provide a representation of the College's studio art faculty. Donors of these works include several alumni of the College. Among the donors are Kraushaar Galleries of New York, Gene and Ann (Komatz, class of 1951) Basset, David and Kathryn (Rydland, class of 1971) Gilbertson, Dawn (Ekstrom, class of 1967) and Edward Michael, Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom (class of 1938), the Cavara Family (in honor of former College faculty member Artur Priednieks-Cavara and his son Arthur Cavara, class of 1964), and, by bequest, Ruth A. Reister, former chair of the College's Board of Trustees, and her husband Raymond A. Reister.
Regular hours for the Hillstrom Museum of Art are weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. As with all programs of the Museum, Made in U.S.A.: Rosenquist/Ruscha, Recent Acquisitions, and The Culture of Movement dance program are free and open to the public. For additional information about the Museum, visit www.gustavus.edu/hillstrom.