Animals the subject of new Des Moines Art Center exhibition

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2019

For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith or Christine Crawford
Tel: 515.271.0343 or 515.271.0344
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Animals the subject of new Des Moines Art Center exhibition

DES MOINES, IOWA (February 2019) – 

On Thursday, February 28, the Des Moines Art Center will open
The Elephant in the Room: Animal as Model, which will be on view through May 5, 2019 in the John Brady Print Gallery. Curator Laura Burkhalter is organizing the exhibition.

Animals, both wild and domesticated, surround humanity at almost all times. Some of the earliest known art – cave paintings from roughly 65,000 years ago – depict animals and subsequently infer our relationship to them. Artists throughout time have often turned to pets, livestock, service animals, and wild beasts as models, finding inspiration in both their familiarity and alien nature. These creatures offer anatomical studies of tails, wings, trunks, horns, and fur. They give us a view into worlds uninhabited by humanity. Quite often they stand in for humans, personifying emotions and human social roles in ways that allow us to be more comfortable with the unforgiving way we frequently treat them. The Elephant in the Room recognizes that animals are not human, regardless of how we capture them in art, but offer endless insight into the human condition.

Related Program

Tandem Gallery Dialogue
Larassa Kabel with Laura Burkhalter

Sunday, March 10 / 1:30 pm
John Brady Print Gallery

Curator Laura Burkhalter is joined by artist Larassa Kabel for a discussion of the exhibition. Kabel’s work employs intense study of animals and notions of mortality. She will discuss making art with both living and dead animals’ bodies. 

Larassa Kabel is a full time artist and curator, best known for her large-scale prints and drawings of falling horses in the series Any Minute Now. She has received numerous grants and awards including an Iowa Arts Council Fellowship, and her work has been shown nationally and is in several corporate and private collections including the Des Moines Art Center, the White House, and the World Food Prize. Kabel holds a BFA from Iowa State University with an emphasis in fibers.

About the Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velásquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect – Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn have provided funding for and donated 28 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Ellsworth Kelly, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Mark di Suvero, is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park was created in collaboration with the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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