Pollock pulls 'em in
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Attendance for the current University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) loan exhibition, "Jackson Pollock Mural," is on pace to become the best-attended art exhibition in the UIMA's history. The exhibition is open to the public free of charge at the Des Moines Art Center.
"Jackson Pollock Mural," which opened April 5 and runs through July 15, has attracted 19,300 visitors, breaking the old record of just over 17,300 show visitors at the same point for “VOOM PORTRAITS," the previous record-breaking UIMA show, which showed in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids in early 2008.
In addition to displaying Pollock's masterpiece, which is nearly 20 feet wide and nine feet tall, the Des Moines Art Center has mounted a video screen showing short films about Pollock and his artistic approach, as well as a timeline explaining the significant events in the life of the painter and his art.
“This showing of Pollock’s monumental masterpiece, one of the most significant paintings in the U.S., to a Des Moines audience has proven to be wildly successful," says Sean O'Harrow, UIMA executive director. "The wonderful people at the Des Moines Art Center have done a remarkable job resulting in our most popular show in Iowa ever.
“It is heartening to see people in Iowa responding in such great numbers to the state’s most famous painting, and to see attendance numbers surpass our other blockbuster exhibitions, such as 'VOOM PORTRAITS,' 'Victorian Fairy Painting,' and 'Lure of the West,'" O'Harrow remarks. "In terms of the frequency of attendance, this will probably be the most successful show for many years to come.”
"Victorian Fairy Painting," an exhibition organized by the UIMA in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts in London, ran from Feb. 28 to May 24, 1998, and drew approximately 25,000 visitors. "Lure of the West," an exhibition of works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum that ran from Jan. 20 to March 18, 2001, drew about 21,400 people. "Lure of the West" also holds the weekend attendance record of 1,938 people on May 17-18, 2001.
The Pollock offering is part of the UIMA’s state-wide initiative to place university organized exhibitions throughout Iowa in partnership with other Iowa museums and educational institutions. The Figge Art Museum in Davenport was the first partner in this program. Other institutions will be taking part over the next 12 to 24 months.
“Our mission is to facilitate the mission of the University of Iowa by serving as many citizens as we can, in every corner of the state,"O'Harrow explains. "This is an unusual role for a university art museum, but one that I think is essential for the quality of life and education of our population.
"For example, Pollock's masterpiece has been all over the world, but has never toured the state before, so here is a chance for citizens in the western half of Iowa, and the rest of Iowa for that matter, to visit our National Treasure and to see what the rest of the world is talking about," the UIMA director notes.
More information on the exhibition can be found at www.desmoinesartcenter.org/exhibitions/Jackson-Pollock-MURAL.aspx. More information on the art can be found at: uima.uiowa.edu/jackson-pollock/.
The Des Moines Art Center is located at 4700 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. Regularly scheduled museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.