March 5, 2012

“This is art-just in case you don’t know.”

In March of 1938, the Gallery exhibited, “International Show of Abstract Painting and Sculpture,” which included works from Eileen Holding of Chicago and other works loaned from New York galleries. Artists represented in the show included: Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo, Jean Helion, Henry Moore, Ladislaus Moholy-Nagy, and John Piper.

A clipping indicates how the Minneapolis Journal covered the exhibition:


Yet another clipping from the MN Daily from March 5, 1938, titled, “Colored Lights Set Off Art Exhibition,” indicated that Calder’s abstract mobiles were accompanied by special effects:

“Colored lights are in use for the first time in the University Gallery, Northrop auditorium, where the “International Exhibition of Abstract Painting and Sculpture” is showing.

In one corner of the main room, a yellow light sets off a kinetic construction by Alexander Calder. The construction, which consists chiefly of unusually shaped wooden pieces, casts a bizarre shadow on the wall. In the opposite corner a blue light shines upon another ‘mobile’ by the same artist. This work consisted of a curved metal rod from which hang curious wooden objects tied to strings. The slightest touch will set all the objects into motion.”


Here are a few images of visitors in the gallery… some of them unknowingly looking at art:

Pressbook_1938-40_111025_0041-International1.jpg Pressbook_1938-40_111025_0041-International2.jpg
Pressbook_1938-40_111025_0041-International3.jpg Pressbook_1938-40_111025_0045_International4.jpg

Rebecca Wilson is a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota, completing a minor in Museum Studies. She also serves as a Visitor Services Assistant at the Weisman Art Museum.

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