Saturday, December 24, 2016

Corita Kent exhibit on display at Dordt College

Corita Kent
Love, 1979
Screen Print, 20 x 20 inches
“…the ability to feel is very beautiful.” —Corita Kent

Dordt College will display a selection of original screen prints by Corita Kent from the collection of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles. The exhibition of 26 prints will be on display from January 6 to February 12.

The exhibition has been curated by Dordt College Professor of Art David Versluis. “I attempted to select work that represents the range of Corita Kent’s typographic style and expressiveness,” says Versluis. “As a graphic design instructor for many years I’ve thought about the qualities of Corita Kent and her activist screen prints of the ’60s and ’70s. This exhibition suggests that her message and image prints are as important and relevant for us today as they were nearly 50 years ago.”

Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita) (1918–1986), born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. At age 18 she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary, eventually teaching in and then heading up the art department at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Her work evolved from figurative and religious to incorporating advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ’60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice.

In 1968 she left the order and moved to Boston. Her work evolved into a sparser, introspective style, influenced by living in a new environment, a secular life, and her battles with cancer. She remained active in social causes until her death in 1986. At the time of her death, she had created almost 800 screen print editions, thousands of watercolors, and innumerable public and private commissions.

Roy R. Behrens sent me this review of the Corita Kent catalog from the College Art Association.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Marguerite Wildenhain: her Bauhaus influence on U.S. ceramics

Marguerite Wildenhain (American, born in France, 1896-1985)
Bowl (Incised Design), 20th century, n.d.
Collection of Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth
photographs by versluis, 2015

The following is from the of the Tweed Museum of Art label:

Wildenhain was educated at the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying with Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy, and Feininger, among others, and worked in the industry of ceramic design. After moving to the United States, she rejected mass production and advocated a return to hand-made craftsmanship. Through her writing, teaching, and artwork, she was a major force in bringing the Bauhaus aesthetic to the American ceramic scene.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Perhaps this is a Leonard Baskin image?

Over 30 years ago I received a framed original print in exchange for curatorial services. The print had been in the collection of a person at Smith College in Northampton Mass. This label was on the dust cover which suggests a very interesting history. Perhaps this is a Leonard Baskin image? If it’s not then another artist was influenced by Baskin. Baskin taught sculpture and printmaking at Smith College from 1953 until 1974.

label size: 2 x 2.25 inches.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Backgrounded—Identity Sightings by Rick Valicenti

Installation views: Backgrounded: Identity Sightings by Rick Valicenti, Artist-in-Residence, Loyola University, Chicago, 2016-17 (iPhone photographs, Translucent window vinyl).
Out of focus yet pres­ent — [persons] behind those captioned in the NY Times, 2013–16. From the exhibition: (maybe) THIS TIME at Loyola University Ralph Arnold Gallery. (the exhibition has ended. photographs courtesy of Thirst/3st)

From the exhibition prospectus: “Not everyone is the focus of media attention. This portraiture looked on those positioned behind captioned subjects featured in the NY Times.”

Having seen this show in October I’ve pondered this piece:

The correlation of recognition and memory—
For his solo exhibition at Loyola, Valicenti works within the neutral wall color of the gallery space while brilliantly utilizing the picture window of the gallery to reach out to those on the street and audiences beyond the gallery. Galleries tend to disengage artifacts from the outside world, but Valicenti as both artist and curator does not circumvent the gallery. Instead he projects its contents to the public, which is quite amazing.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Rick Valicenti: Patriot Table—from the exhibition “(maybe) THIS TIME”

Rick Valicenti: Patriot Table made in collaboration with Jonathan Nesci.
nothing normative—in post-election Patriot Table becomes even more poignant.
From the exhibition: (maybe) THIS TIME
Loyola University Artist-in-Residence, 2016–17 Ralph Arnold Gallery
Exhibition ends 26 November 2016

The following text taken from Thirst/3st:

“Red, White, Blue and Dangerous—this life-threatening side table is the ideal accent in any flag waving, All-American decor.”

There’s no question this piece can stand on its own—the red, white, and blue pork pie drum/table supported by javelin legs, which includes the stereoscopic reflection of the mirror on which this piece stands. Time will tell if hell is on the way—meanwhile Valicenti’s piece offers help by contrasting irony (sans cynicism) with an artifact of exquisite design and craft.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Arthur C. Danto: the writer as printmaker

Arthur C. Danto (1924-2013), “Child Carrying Flowers”, woodcut, 1955
From the collection of David and Janis Versluis

In 2005, because of this print, I began a very fine e-mail correspondence with Danto. Arthur Danto is best known as a prolific writer, Columbia University philosophy professor, and long-time art critic for “The Nation”. Danto writes: “That [this] print was of my daughter Lizzie.” In the 50s and early 60s Danto was a very serious artist/printmaker.

Wayne State University has the most extensive collection of Arthur C. Danto prints. 

Printed on mulberry (rice) paper and with full margins. Containing slight mat burning around the edges the image. Signed, dated, title and numbered, “5/20”, by the artist in pencil along the lower margin. Re-matted with 100% archival materials.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

A signature piece: Rick Valicenti’s “A Wheel of Fortune—Round and Round”

From the exhibition: (maybe) THIS TIME
Rick Valicenti
Loyola University Artist-in-Residence, 2016–17
Ralph Arnold Gallery
11 October – 26 November 2016

Chicago based artist/designer Rick Valicenti’s Wheel of Fortune—Round and Round installation artwork seems to be a hybrid and hyperbolic time piece with a subtle note of George Nelson’s modern clock designs. The light rays emanating from the center hint at Bernini’s Ecstasy, while the centralized casting of a “death mask” accents the vanitas genre without the moralizing. The piece is a roulette and metaphor for all the small deeds of civility. Photograph above used with permission.

Wheel of Fortune 2016
Industrial Felt
60 x 60"
Fabricated by West Supply

Round and Round 2016
Polished Aluminum
72 x 72"
In collaboration with Taek Kim
Fabricated by West Supply

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Michiko Itatani: hi-point contact at the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago

Michiko Itatani
Redon’s Garden painting from Moon-light / Mooring 2007
96 x 154 in. (243.84 cm x 391.16 cm)
Oil on canvas
Michiko Itatani’s solo exhibition “hi-point” is currently on view at the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago. photograph by versluis 2016

I was mesmerized by the Dripstone wall of the Wallenstein Palace in Prague and the White sand sea of Jisho-in in Kyoto. Both stopped my breath momentarily when I saw them for the first time and my eyes were trans-fixated. The Baroque of the West and the Dry landscape of the East are human achievements of the early 17th Century. 

I am fascinated by these parallel achievements in different places at the same period. Both demonstrate to me their extreme development of a concept and their contradictions. Their extreme development seems to be toward the opposites: West went to additive, ecstatic and anthropomorphous, East went to reductive, meditative and symbolic. West commands physical and emotional participation, while East commands abandonment of them.
In my most recent body of work, “Cosmic Theater II”, I am presenting my personal parallels in two series of work. One is HyperBaroque and another is Moon Light / Mooring. These are my two parallel fictions based on the human desire to reach out into the mental and physical space beyond our reach. One is looking out and another is looking in.…

—Michiko Itatani (statement is from her website

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Award-winning photographer René Clement to visit Dordt

Liberty ©2015 René Clement

New York City-based and award-winning freelance photographer René Clement is giving a presentation and showcasing some of his work in the Ribbens Academic Complex Classroom Building  at Dordt College this semester. The public is invited to attend the presentation on Wednesday, September 28, at 3:30 p.m. in SB 1641 in the Science Building.

One of Clement’s current fine art photographic projects is called “Seasoned”, which is making complex montages of trees and the atmosphere created from in NYC environs. Another intricate and highly imaginative montage/collage project are called “Timescapes” and “4Sight”. Recent editorial photographic projects feature Egypt, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and Syrian refugees at the Health Care Center of Amel Association in Tyre, South Lebanon.

His honors include Zilveren Camera awards for Foreign Documentary and News Pictures, and publication in Time Magazine’s Pictures of the Year in 2003. He has published seven books of photography including Promising Land (Land vol Beloften in Dutch) about Dutch Americans living in Iowa.

Clement will be on campus as a visiting artist. The Dordt community is invited to view Rene Clement’s photographs before and after the public presentation. The photos will remain on display throughout the semester.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sola Scriptura art exhibit at Dordt College

Geneva Bible leaf, 1597
Sola Scriptura: Biblical Art and Text is on display in the Campus Center Art Gallery through September 28. A reception for the exhibit will be held on September 22 from 6:45 until 8 p.m., with a gallery talk from Dordt English Professor Bob De Smith at 7 p.m.

The exhibit celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, to be marked in 2017, by recalling “how Martin Luther brought the Scripture to the forefront as a way to center our personal and communal lives more fully on Christ.”

Sola Scriptura features over 35 works and is divided into three sections: Translating the Bible, Illuminating the Bible, and Picturing the Bible.

Translating the Bible includes portrait engravings of Martin Luther, an 1875 Martin Luther German Bible, and one leaf from a 1541 edition of Luther’s Bible. Illuminating the Bible features New Testament engravings from a German prayer book, illuminated pages from a 15th century Vulgate, and a parchment manuscript used by medieval choirs. Picturing the Bible features contemporary artists who use Biblical text as “an integral part of their artwork.” A few of the contemporary artists featured are Sandra Bowden, Timothy Botts, Susan Coe, and the late Guy Chase.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Cover design by Milton Glaser, Pushpin Studios, 1965 Signet Classics: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Milton Glaser

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Friday, August 5, 2016

James Castle, a small show at Mia, Minneapolis — was Castle, an isolated, self-taught artist, influenced by Frans Kline’s “Chair” (1950) or Robert Rauschenberg ?

James Castle (American, 1899-1977)
Untitled (Chair), undated
The following information is taken from the museum display labels:

Light brown corrugated cardboard faced with tan paper; cut, folded, wrapped, and adhered; sewn and tied with white cotton string, blue cotton string, sisal twine; red-brown wash, red-brown wax crayon, soot, wood. Private collection, Minneapolis.
For this large-scale construction, Castle combined pictorial and sculptural elements to create a highly distinctive interpretation of a common wooden chair. At nearly two feet tall, the work is larger than most of his constructions, approaching the actual size of a child’s chair. It functions on two distinct planes—emblematic and descriptive—mimicking the form and physical attributes of its model. Is this chair, or is this an image of chair? It’s actually both, a hybrid that challenges our preconceived notion of “chairness.”

[About] James Castle
The Experience of Every Day

James Charles Castle was a self-taught American artist who lived his entire life in southwest Idaho. Born profoundly deaf in 1899. Castle grew grew up on a modest farmstead operated by his parents and seven siblings. The family farm would become a lifelong sanctuary for Castle, who remained at home with his parents until their death. and then with other relatives until his own death in 1977. Despite his family’s unwavering love and support. Castle was socially isolated, due to is inability to communicate conventionally. As a child. he attended a school for the deaf and blind, but never learned to read. write. speak sign. or lip-read. He never married or had children of his own.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art: Twentieth Century Modern Design

Pictured L-R (following information taken from the museum display labels) Photograph by © versluis 2016:

Marcel Lajos Breuer, American (born Hungary), 1902-1981
“Wassily” armchair, model B3 c. 1926
Chrome-plated steel, canvas
Standard Möbel, Manufacturer, Berlin, 1927-1928

This armchair helped change the course of the furniture industry in the early 1900s. Marcel Lajos Breuer used tubular steel and canvas in the design, instead of wood and other conventional materials. Breuer was reportedly inspired by the lightness of his bicycle frame, made of strong tubular steel, and wanted to use the material in his furniture design. The chair is nicknamed “Wassily” because of painter Wassily Kandinsky’s appreciation of the chair.

Eero Saarinen, Designer, American (born Finland) 1910-1961
Studio Loja Saarinen, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Maker
American, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Loja Saarinen, Maker, Finnish 1879-1968
Wall hanging, c. 1934
linen, silk; discontinuous supplementary weft patterning

This object can be seen as the product of an extremely talented family. The angular leaping fish and muted colors are hallmarks of the American Art Deco style, and are attributed to Eero Saarinen. The piece was created in the studio of his mother, Loja at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, a leader in the development of modernism in the United States. Cranbrook was itself a family affair, guided by Loja and her husband, architect Eliel Saarinen. In the late 1930s, Loja and Eliel's daughter Pipsan and her husband, J. Robert F. Swanson, placed the hanging in the Charles J. Koebel residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Swanson designed the house and Pipsan designed the interiors. 

Marcel Lajos Breuer, American (born Hungary), 1902-1981
Nest of table (model B9-9c), 1926-30s, 1926-30
Gebrüder Thonet, Manufacturer, Frankenberg, Germany, est. 1849
Chromium-plated steel, ebonized wood

Smaller tables are concealed within larger ones in this nest of tables, and can be pulled out at a moment’s notice. The tables are primarily made of tubular steel, a highly innovative material at the time and easier to bend than wood. Originally intended as stools, these tables were a favorite design of Breuer’s simple, functional, space-saving, and inexpensive.

Attributed to Fritz August Breuhaus de Groot, German, 1883-1960
Table lamp, c. 1928
Chromium-plated metal, glass
Metallwaren Fabrik (a.k.a. WMF)
Manufacturer: Württembergische

Breuhaus de Groot designed interiors for large modes of transportation, such as trains, ocean liners, and, most famously, the doomed Hindenburg airship that met its fiery demise on May 6, 1937. This lamp would have fit perfectly in the compact travel spaces he typically designed.

Alvar Aalto, Finnish 1898-1976
“Paimio” chair, c 1932
Laminated birch, bent plywood

Alvar Aalto, an architect and designer, is perhaps best known today for has furniture. He designed this relaxing armchair for the Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium in southwest Finland One of h1s earliest designs, it uses laminated birch, an uncommon material for furniture at the t1me. The chair was extremely strong, comfortable, and attractive, and could be inexpensively and easily manufactured. It is still produced by Artek, the company founded by Aalto and three partners.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mika Negishi Laidlaw: 2015 McKnight Fellowship Recipient, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis

Mika Negishi Laidlaw, Winter’s Hope, 2016, slipcast porcelain, 27 x 16 x 13".
photograph by ©versluis 2016

“…From early on much of her work has involved irregular curving forms suggestive of the body.…” [Negishi Laidlaw then stacks these forms upon one another to support on object]—“an abstract body”.… She associates these with the protective comfort of her grandmother and describes the emotive feeling as “unconditional love”. Her forms imply human relationships and comfort—‘home’ in the largest sense. (1)
  1. Koplos, Janet. “Mika Negishi Laidlaw: Home.” Six McKnight Artists. Ed. Elizibeth Colemen. Minneapolis: Northern Clay Center, 2016. 6-7. Print.  

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rebecca Hutchinson: “Florilegium” Show / Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis

Tranquil Burst, an installation by Rebecca Hutchinson.
porcelain, paperclay, handmade paper, adhesive, adobe, willow, 2016.
Northern Clay Center—Contemporary clay work and ceramic sculpture gallery in Minneapolis. Photograph by © versluis 2016

The following information is from the exhibition label:

In nature there are d1verse states of existence that I continue to study the structure of nature. the resulting state of nature after interact1on with other forces of nature. the resilience of nature. and the complexity and awe 1n the engineering of nature All of these states of nature are rooted and formed by the motivation and need to survive, and they provide countless influences for diverse construction and conceptual possibilities for art making. More specifically. they provide endless opportunities for metaphor, as they speak to the depth and complexity of living with the hopes of revealing the human condition in visual and sculptural form, utiliZing traditional and non-traditional ceramic materials and processes.

My work focuses on the respect for process and the endless influences found in nature. Formally and structurally, my interest is in the details—quality of craft, connections. and structure -and conceptually. 1n an understanding of all physical parts to the whole. I build clay and fibrous sculptural works made from indigenous materials. such as recycled 100% natural fiber clothing or harvested garden materials beaten down to pulp and formed Into handmade sheets. and industrial cast-off surplus materials. like cotton thread from the bedding industry, shredded 100 dollar bills taken out of circulation, or sisal from the burlap bag industry.

Clay is either site-dug or purchased and mixed with pulp to create a slurry of paperclay. I hand model, slip trail, and dip surplus industrial materials or handmade paper forms and pour paperclay slip between papers, and cut and construct. Each paperclay form is built to be fired or remain non-fired A sticky mixture of paperclay mixed with glue binds the handmade paper and the paperclay florets to each other and to a simply constructed, wooden frame. Installation construction is influenced conceptually by specific growth patterns. but does not replicate nature. Like an animal that uses the vernacular from place. I, too, upcycle humble materials and remake them into what I hope to be exquisite sculptural forms. …

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oskar Kokoschka: Cowles's Portrait at the Des Moines Art Center

Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886-1980)
Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. John Cowles 1949
Oil on canvas
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collection; Gift of John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles.

Rudolf Arnheim, author, art and film theorist, and perceptual psychologist, once mentioned that his favorite artist was Oskar Kokoschka.

John Cowles Sr. was the co-owner of the Cowles Media Company, whose assets included the Minneapolis Star, the Minneapolis Tribune, the Des Moines Register,Look magazine, and a half-interest in Harper's Magazine. Also, Drake University’s Cowles Library is a namesake.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Isamu Noguchi: “Mountain Landscape (Bench)” 1981 — three views

Isamu Noguchi (American, 1904-1988)
Mountain Landscape (Bench), 1981
Collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri 

The following is from the museum label:

Mountain Landscape (Bench) reveals Noguchi’s outstanding ability to combine refined carving and roughly chiseled surfaces within one work. The massive, horizontal bench was carved from a single p1ece of stone and rests on two stone feet. The flat-topped form on the sculpture’s upper surface suggests a great mesa or mound rising from a primal landscape. These forms relate to Noguchi’s lifelong study of ancient pyramids and burial mounds, which he explored on his world travels. Like a distinctive rock that has been carefully placed in a traditional Japanese garden, Mountain Landscape (Bench) also served as an aid to meditation. At Noguchi’s studio in Mure, Japan, he and others rested on the bench and observed other sculptures.

Gift of the Hall Family Foundation F99-33/70

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rick Valicenti and David Versluis attending the AIGA Design Educator's Conference at BGSU, Ohio

Rick Valicenti and David Versluis at the AIGA Design Educator's Conference: “Nuts+Bolts” at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. June 15-16, 2016.

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Donald Drumm: designer and sculptor and master craftsman

Donald Drumm (American, b.1935), designer and sculptor
The 10 story concrete mural at Bowling Green State University’s Jerome Library building. Concrete, carved/chiseled relief panels with paint for contrast, c.1966. Drumm was artist-in-residence at BGSU in the mid-1960s. In 1996 the mural was refurbished to it’s original state.

The scale of this work is fantastically impressive and the syncopation of the visual elements are delightful.

Drumm is based in Akron, Ohio. He was born in Warren, Ohio and received art degrees from Kent State University.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Walker Art Center “Ordinary Pictures” Exhibition: Amanda Ross-Ho

Amanda Ross-Ho (American, b. 1975)
OMEGA 2012
aluminum, steel, wood, high-density foam, extruded rubber,
enamel paint, cast urethane, glass
Courtesy the artist; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; and Mitchell-lnnes & Nash, New York

Color Calibration Card (Artifact from THE CHARACTER AND SHAPE OF ILLUMINATED THINGS) 2013
exterior MDF, aluminum, UV print on Sintra, latex paint
Courtesy the artist; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; Mitchell-lnnes & Nash, New York; and The Approach, London

The following is from the Walker Art Center label:

Amanda Ross-Ho’s sculptural works often begin by identifying the potential of cast-off objects and personal ephemera, combining them with the residue of past projects. For example, OMEGA-a giant replica of a darkroom photo enlarger-applies the magnifying function of the device to itself. At the same time, this particular enlarger carries a personal history: it is a painstaking re-fabrication of an actual object given to a young Ross-Ho by her photographer-parents.

Similarly, for a recent outdoor installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Ross-Ho produced a giant replica of a color-calibration card, a professional photographer's tool for color correction and exposure settings. In both works on view here, the re-creation of these photographic apparatuses as massive sculptures calls attention to the fundamental tools of traditional image-making and production

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lyonel Feininger’s “Barfüsserkirche II”: a quintessential and beautiful example of crystalline Cubism

Lyonel Feininger (American, 1871-1956)
Barfüsserkirche II (Church of the [Franciscans] Minorites II) 1926
oil on canvas
Collection of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Gift of the T. B. Walker Foundation, Gilbert M. Walker Fund
Acquired in 1943
Photograph by versluis 2016

The following is from the Walker Art Center label:

In 1943, the Walker Art Center launched an ambitious exhibition plan with the dual goals of highlighting contemporary American art while also promoting its purchase within the museum and the local community. The first project to embody this new mission was 92 Artists, a survey of national trends in landscape, portraiture, figuration, and abstraction. Its curator, T. B. Walker’s grandson Hudson Walker, framed the exhibition in terms that reflected the patriotic pride of the World War II era and recognized New York as the “creative artistic capital of the world” that supplanted Europe. Among the artists Walker chose to carry the nationalist flag is one that strikes an odd note: Lyonel Feininger. His painting Barfüsserkirche II (Church of the Minorites II), with its German title and European Cubist-Expressionist style, along with the artist’s surname, might have given viewers the impression that he was not American, but German.

In a sense, Feininger was both. He was born in New York City but moved to Berlin in 1887, at age 16, to study art. He remained in Germany for 50 years, becoming a celebrated avant-garde painter who was associated with Expressionism and on the faculty of the Bauhaus. He returned to the United States in 1936 because the Nazis declared his work “degenerate.” Once at home, he encountered intense anti-German sentiment that made life difficult for his family and threatened his livelihood. He began emphasizing his roots and seized every opportunity to be seen as an American artist.

Church of the Minorites II was among the dozen works purchased from 92 Artists for the Walker's collection. Today, it is considered a superb and important example of Feininger’s mature style and reflects the Walker’s embrace of artists and histories that do not fit monolithic definitions or categories.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Walker Art Center “Ordinary Pictures” Exhibition: The Sturtevant Wall Installation—the notions about authorship

Sturtevant (American, 1924-2014)
[wall installation piece, center portion pictured] photograph by versluis 2016.

Warhol Flowers 1966
synthetic polymer screen print on canvas
Collection Bill Arning. Houston

Warhol Flowers 1971
synthetic polymer screen print on canvas
Collection Klaus Ottmann and Leslie Tonkonow,
New York

Beuys La rivoluzione siamo noi
(We Are the Revolution) 1988
screen print on paper; ed. 50/60
Photo: Arpad Dobriban
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2011

Serpentine Owl Wallpaper 2013
digitally printed vinyl wallpaper
Estate Sturtevant, Paris
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris-Salzburg

The following is from the Walker Art Center label:

Beginning in 1964, Sturtevant (born Elaine Sturtevant)began to “repeat” the artwork of others in an attempt to expose the function of the artwork as commodity and question established notions of authorship. Creating from memory artworks by Jasper Johns. Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and others, she issued a striking critique of the art system's faith in originality.

Serpentine Owl Wallpaper is a wall covering that repeats an image the artist found on a stock photo website. It serves as the backdrop for two examples of her Warhol Flowers paintings, a series she initiated in 1964. At that time, Sturtevant borrowed Andy Warhol’s generic screen-printed image-one he originally sourced from the pages of Modern Photography magazine-performing a two-fold act of appropriation.

For her version of Joseph Beuys’s 1972 print La rivoluzione siamo noi (We are the Revolution), Sturtevant cast herself in Beuys’s role, donning his trademark vest and hat. Here she suggests that originality is best understood as a function of artistic persona and not as a quality of an artwork itself. When compared to their models, Sturtevant’s works offer up a number of subtle differences that allow them to be simultaneously familiar and singular.

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Walker Art Center “Ordinary Pictures” Exhibition: Steven Baldi’s “Branded Light” photographs

Steven Baldi (American, b. 1983)
Branded Light (Canon) 2014 (second piece in the series)
gelatin silver print; ed. 2/3 + 2 AP
Courtesy the artist and Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles
photoraph by versluis 2016
From the Walker Art Center exhibition: Ordinary Pictures is on view until October 9, 2016.

The following is taken from the label that accompanies this piece:

Steven Baldi’s series of Branded Light photographs reveal the familiar yet distorted logos of camera manufacturers and imaging corporations such as Fuji, Kodak, Canon, and Sony. Though his fractured compositions may suggest digital manipulation, the artist creates his pictures entirely in-camera. Abstract as they may seem, the images nevertheless trigger our recognition of these ever-present global brands.

Baldi’s works often address the materials and systems that support both art and imaging. This series in particular draws attention to ways that corporate conglomerates exert invisible control over the images we make and consume. Baldi reminds us of the branded character of the medium's most fundamental aspects: the materials-film and a camera-required to produce an image.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Taliesin West: Garden Room Folding Divider (Eugene Masselink— “…There was no conflict between his faith and his work.”)

The Garden Room folding divider with Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Taliesin West Planview Motif.” The folding divider has the look and feel of a piece designed and painted by Wright’s executive secretary, Eugene Masselink. Olgivanna Lloyd Wright dedicated her book The Roots of Life (published in 1963) to the memory of Eugene Masselink (1911-1962, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan with Dutch Calvinist roots). She wrote an affectionate epitaph honoring Masselink: “…There was no conflict between his faith and his work.”
Taliesin West, The Garden Room, Scottsdale, Arizona. May 2016.
A harrow disk golden bowl sits on a side table and flanked by Taliesin origami chairs. The folding divider stands in the corner.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The James J. Versluis, a 90-foot icebreaking tug owned by Chicago’s Water Department

The James J. Versluis, a 90-foot icebreaking tug owned by Chicago’s Water Department, can move through 18 inches of ice. (Photo by ©John Fecile). Caption (italics) and photograph courtesy of WBEZ.

To my knowledge there’s no relation, however it’s uncanny that my great-grand father’s name was James (Jacobus in Dutch).

Census records indicate that James J. Versluis was a civil engineer for the City of Chicago in the first half of the 20th century and was responsible for the City of Chicago water works construction. The city water vessel named in his honor in the 1950s is still in service.

The Art Institute of Chicago records indicate that Mrs. James J. Versluis was a contributor in the 1920s.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chicago Design Archive aficionados: Susan Jackson Keig

To Chicago Design Archive aficionados:
This is a photo of Susan Jackson Keig talking with reference librarian, Janis Versluis at the Society of Typographic Arts 85th Anniversary Celebration held at Wright in Chicago on 26 October 2012. This was the event that also featured: “Carl Regher: The Lost Journals.”

Keig is a Fellow and past-president of the STA. R. Roger Remington’s Graphic Design History Resource lists Susan Jackson Keig as a woman pioneer in design and a key individual in the development of American design.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ossip Zadkine: (re)considering the artist’s empathetic work — searching for “a true reality and a real truth”

Prometheus (1956), Bronze
Ossip Zadkine (1890–1967), Sculptor
Saint-Germain des Prés, Paris
photograph by © versluis 2010

Traditionally, Prometheus was ridiculed as the purveyor of good gifts to humankind — Zadkine’s Prometheus (in a beautifully subtle contrapposto pose) asks whether humankind is using the gift of fire for good or for ill. The consideration of Zadkine’s artworks again seem relevant in these disconcerting times.

One of the best reflections of Zadkine’s work was by Dutch artist, Henk Krijger (1913-1979). The following excerpt, subtitled, A christian style, is from Jan de Bree’s fine article, “Henk Krijger and the Institute for Christian Art / Patmos, 1969-1973”:

Krijger in his article Drie Overwegingen, discussed the christian artist and the development of a christian style. In his considerations he turned to the Russian sculptor, Ossip Zadkine, and showed how Zadkine’s work was important for the christian artist. According to Krijger, Zadkine, like so many other modern artists, experienced a cultural crisis. In his distress he searched for a ‘true reality and a real truth’ and broke through to the deepest deep, ‘the primordial state in which horror, fear and lostness were the characteristic emotions.’ Like Zadkine, the christian artist also was to break through to the deepest deep. The Christian had to break through the ‘schriftge­ leerden-wet or leer’ (the law or doctrine of Bible scholars) to the depths where prayer, the cry to God (an existential outburst) broke forth and a conversion took place. Going against the certainty of human knowledge and casting oneself upon God made the christian artist not a rebel against God, but a witness of the Word. He would be a witness of the Word in his own language, his christian art, with a true style. That is conversion.
The turning away from a kind of academic knowledge or dogma, as Krijger later called it, to an intuitive, emotional knowing was one of his main points in his view of art. …(1)
  1. de Bree, Jan. “Henk Krijger and the Institute for Christian Art/Patmos, 1969-1973.” Hommage `a Senggih: A Retrospective of Henk Krijger in North America. Ed. Jan de Bree. Toronto: Patmos Gallery, 1988. 25-26. Print.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dordt College graphic design and printmaking student: Christina Chahyadinata (Crissy) from Jakarta (Tangerang), Indonesia

Christina Chahyadinata
Linocut 2016
9" x 12"

Christina Chahyadinata (Crissy) is a sophomore student from Jakarta (Tangerang), Indonesia. Crissy has the heart of a christian servant. This is her first linocut print and indicates her dexterity of hand-lettering and her ability to orchestrate the integrality of text and image. A Polynesian image of tropical and verdant flora…

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dordt College printmaking student: Lance Wunderink, Lima, Peru

Lance Wunderink
Hidden Mystery
Linocut 2016
24" x 24"

Wunderink is a senior and graduating with a double major in graphic design and digital media production.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Dordt College printmaking student: Youra Song, South Korea

Youra Song
Youra Song
Linocut 2016

Several Dordt College art and design students, taking printmaking for the first time, recently had their artwork selected in a juried Regional Exhibition. Dabin Jeong, Youra Song, and Kwan Yong Park were among the twenty-five regional artists featured in Orange City Arts’ exhibit April 22–30, 2016 at the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dordt College graphic design and printmaking student: Kwan Yong Park, South Korea

Kwan Yong Park 
Two-Color Linocut 2016
Several Dordt College art and design students, taking printmaking for the first time, recently had their artwork selected in a juried Regional Exhibition. Dabin Jeong, Youra Song, and Kwan Yong Park were among the twenty-five regional artists featured in Orange City Arts’ exhibit April 22–30, 2016 at the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dordt College printmaking student: Dabin Jeong, South Korea

Dabin Jeong 
Linocut 2016
Several Dordt College art and design students, taking printmaking for the first time, recently had their artwork selected in a Juried Regional Exhibition. Dabin Jeong, Youra Song, and Kwan Yong Park were among the twenty-five regional artists featured in Orange City Arts’ exhibit April 22–30, 2016 at the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

We’ll be featuring each of these students in the subsequent DCAIGA blog pieces.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Roy R. Behrens and David Versluis show now on view at South Suburban College.

SOUTH HOLLAND, Illinois — Exhibition on view of artworks created in collaboration between graphic design professors Roy R. Behrens and David M. Versluis. The exhibit, “Graphic Designers Collaborate: Attention to Detail,” will run to April 21 at South Suburban College’s Dorothea Thiel Gallery. Photograph courtesy of Sergio Gomez.

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

David Versluis’s monoprint image is juror’s selection for the Orange City Arts Council’s regional art show promotional poster

Northern Lights
Monoprint: Block printing ink on paper
Image size: 6" x 8"

Poster size: 8.5" x 11"
Poster design by Phil Scorza

David Versluis’s monoprint image was recently selected by the jurors for the Orange City Arts Council’s regional art show promotional poster.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Work: The 2016 Sioux County Oratorio Chorus Poster

The 2016 Sioux County Oratorio Chorus Poster
David Versluis, designer © 2016
Typestyle design: “Calibre” by Kris Sowersby.
Size: 12 x 18 inches, 30.5 x 45.7 cm

Design modernist, Rudolph de Harak’s (1924-2002) 1955 record album cover is the inspiration for this piece. The patterns and rhythms suggest a mosaic of implied structures and musical color notations.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Jim Dine at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago

Jim Dine (b. 1935) after the poetry reading conversing with New York poet Vincent Katz far left. Visual artist, Jim Dine has always had an affinity for poets and poetry. The following is from an artnet interview with Dine by New York poet, Ilka Scobie. Dine says, “You know I was a bad boy in school primarily because I couldn’t read well, because I’m dyslexic. And the only thing I could read was poetry till I was 22 and I started to read novels. But you know, poetry kept me in the world of language.”

An exterior view of a “roomful of words”—photo taken from the entryway to the Poetry Foundation. The Foundation building is brilliantly designed by architect John Ronan of Chicago. Photography by versluis

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MCA Chicago / Pop Art Design: Alexander Girard’s Letter Patterns

Alexander Girard (American, 1907-1993)
Alphabet, 1952
Wallpaper pattern
Printed paper
Herman Miller, Inc.
Zeeland, Michigan
Collection of the Vitra Design Museum

The fabric piece (wall hanging) partially shown above Girard’s letter patterns is titled “Letters” was designed in 1955 by Gunnar Aagaard Andersen (Danish 1919-1982). 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

David Versluis’s Biblical Character, “Leah” — after Elizabeth Catlett’s “Glory”

Leah 2016 
Archival pigment print. 24 x 18 inches.
After Elizabeth Catlett (American 1915-2012)
Glory (Glory Van Scott, b. 1941, producer, performer, educator, and civic activist)
Cast bronze, life-size, 1981

This is a special effects/enhanced photograph by David Versluis of an Elizabeth Catlett life-size cast bronze sculpture titled Glory (1981). Catlett’s piece is in the permanent collection of the Muskegon Museum of Art. Versluis’s recreated portrait is intended to convey a powerful dignity, serenity, justice and hope that suggests aspects of the biblical character, Leah.

This artwork is part of an exhibition of visual work/poetry that responds to the theme of Leah in the book of Genesis. This exhibition is a wonderful collaborative fine arts event organized by Northwestern College’s art, English and music departments. The show opened February 15 and runs until the 26th in Northwestern’s Te Paske Gallery in Orange City, Iowa.

The main event is a reception on Monday evening, February 22, at 7 p.m. in the college’s Te Paske Gallery. In addition to the artwork there will be writings and music performed by community members.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Anne and Paul Rand's: “Listen! Listen!”

Listen! Listen! An inside spread.
A children’s book by Ann Rand and illustrated by Paul Rand
Copyright ©1970 Harcourt, Brace & World Book. Photograph of the spread is from the book collection of Dordt College Library’s Learning Resource Center.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

William Le Baron Jenney: First Congregational Church, Manistee, Michigan

William Le Baron Jenney, Principal Architect
First Congregational Church, 1892 
Manistee, Michigan 

A Michigan Historic Site, copy taken for the commemorative plaque presented outside the building. William Le Baron Jenney, eminent Chicago architect known as the “father of the skyscraper,” designed this beautiful Romanesque church. Completed in 1892, it features vibrant stained glass windows, two of which are of Tiffany design. The soaring rafters form a canopy over the curved hand-carved pews in the luminescent and graceful interior. Lumber, salt, and shipping industrialists of the late nineteenth century attended and supported this distinctive house of worship.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

David Versluis’s: These Photos Now: “about to break apart”

©David M. Versluis
These Photos Now: About to Break Apart 
Montage, Archival Pigment Print 2015
18"W x 27"H

The University of South Dakota Art Galleries is currently showing, New Union / Re Union, in Gallery 110, located in the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts. This exhibition features 50 artists, “who know Vermillion and/or the area intimately well,” interpreting lines from the poetry of Cynthia Nibbelink Worley, Harlem, NYC. The exhibition runs to February 15, 2016.

Versluis’s Artist Statement
Invited artists were asked to develop an image based on a single line in the poem by Nibbelink Worley a Dordt College alumna, class of 1966. I was assigned the line “About to Break Apart” from the poem titled, “These Photos Now.” The house façade, in the montage, is a photograph I took of the ca. 1900 farm homestead in Heritage Village in Sioux Center, Iowa.

These Photos Now ©Cynthia Hibbelink Worley

Looking at the photos now
They tell a different story-
The small frame house stands cold, alone
Its sagging porch, two elms I thought of once
as wondrous arms
seem weak- wasted limbs
about to break apart
My father's work shed too, lonely- a patch
of winter's snow
frozen on the roof
The barn, fat and warm inside I'm sure-
In these old sepia tones Phil sent upon Aunt Effie's death, I
feel the great sadness, emptiness—
everything simple, flat, so plain
Without these pictures I idealize-
Fresh bread baking in my mother's heavenly kitchen
The homemade Christmas tree glowing through a tiny window
Heat from a wood-burning stove-
The photos quiver with a certain reality
Wind howling through a hollow core
the heartache, precious pain
of that barren landscape
How hard we worked to make it seem more
than what it was

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