News Column

Three exhibits to open in October at IU Art Museum

August 4, 2014

By Marci Creps, Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.

Aug. 04--In October, the IU Art Museum will offer three new exhibits focused on a 20th century painter, color and Asian calligraphy and art.

"Colors of Classical Art" will explore the use of color in sculpture, architecture, murals, pottery, glass, textiles and jewelry. The exhibit will also explore the theme of pattern, reflection, translucence, imitation, the interrelationships of media and techniques needed to make color.

"With all of the damage that has affected antiquities over time, it is difficult to envision the way that these works of art originally looked. Color, though now largely lost, was very important in the ancient world --and, so, this exhibition centers on ideas and approaches to color, hoping to help modern viewers look at classical art in a new way," said Juliet Graver Istrabadi, acting curator of ancient art at the museum.

"Pierre Daura: Picturing Attachments" will feature works by the Cataan/American painter. The artwork represents events that happened in Daura's life from his courtship and marriage to his wife's illness and death.

"Brush Ink Paper -- Selections from the Collection of Dr. Thomas Kuebler" will feature more than 25 works of calligraphy and painting from China and Japan. The works date from the 17th century to the 20th century.

Judy Stubbs, the curator for Asian art and organizer of the exhibit, said she was invited by Kuebler to view the artwork a number of years ago.

"And I was just blown away at the quality," Stubbs said. For more than five years, the two talked about putting together an exhibit from Kuebler's collection. Unfortunately, Kuebler passed away in 2013 and won't get the chance to see the exhibit when it opens in October.

"It's too bad, because he loved his work. He had a fabulous eye," Stubbs said.

Stubbs said the exhibit will look at brushwork, and to help visitors, each piece in the exhibit will have a description to give a focal point. There will also be a brochure that gives detailed information on the art of calligraphy, including the different types of script.

Despite the fact that the works are on paper, Stubbs said they are quite sturdy.

"The way Asian work is mounted is the majority of these are in scrolls. When they're mounted in a scroll, they're actually pretty stable," Stubbs said.

The works will stay rolled up until they are hung in the exhibit. The works are mounted on backing paper with decorative silk around it. Because they are wound so tightly, they don't burn well, since there is no air inside the scroll to allow the fire to burn.

"The packaging is really designed to keep them safe," Stubbs said.

Preparing the exhibit included vetting the items to identify the artist and translate the calligraphy. Graduate student Dongchoel Bin is a calligrapher who worked with Stubbs to verify the artist of each piece of artwork. Bin also translated the text.

With pieces that are extremely old, Stubbs said it was interesting that with some pieces, the ink smell was still quite strong. When one particular piece was unfurled, Stubbs said the smell of the pine soot used for the ink wafted from the work.

When choosing the pieces for the exhibit from Kuebler's collection, Stubbs said she decided to only go with vertical pieces that could hang on the wall. Horizontal pieces would need to be kept in a case. Stubbs said horizontal pieces are usually viewed as they are being unfurled -- a technique that wouldn't be possible during the exhibit.

The works have been translated, but that may not help visitors understand the art. Sometimes the artworks are designed for meditation, so the viewer needs to get beyond the idea that there may not be an "answer" to what is written.

But whether visitors to the exhibit want to gain more in-depth knowledge of the works or simply enjoy the beauty of the piece, the "Brush Ink Paper" exhibit is designed to be both.

"It should have presence from far away, and it should have presence from close up," she said.

The exhibits

On display Oct. 4 through Dec. 21 at the IU Art Museum are "Colors of Classical Art," "Pierre Daura: Picturing Attachments" and "Brush Ink Paper." An opening lecture for the Daura exhibit will be 5:30 p.m.Oct. 3 in room 015 of the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts auditorium. A reception will follow from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the atrium of the museum.

The museum is at 1133 E. Seventh St. For more, call 812-855-5445 or visit


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Source: Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN)

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