Figge Art Museum, Davenport
225 West 2nd Street
artist / participant
“The University of Iowa Museum of Art greatly appreciates the generous storage and exhibition space in the beautiful Figge Art Museum. This temporary home away from home will keep our collection safe and allow the people of Iowa the chance to view and use the art while the UIMA works toward a new permanent facility. We welcome you to the UIMA@the Figge, and we hope you are as excited about the possibilities of this groundbreaking partnership as we are!”
Pamela White, UIMA Interim Director
Legacies from the past for the future.
A Legacy for Iowa: Pollock’s Mural and Modern Masterworks from the University of Iowa Museum of Art, the first display of art from the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) at the Figge Art Museum, features 22 of the most important paintings in the UIMA collection.
The exhibition explores each painting’s distinctive qualities, revealing each work as remarkable in its own right, while also suggesting how the objects and their makers interrelate to create a tapestry of complex and fascinating stories.
Nearly all of the pieces in the exhibition were fully or partially donated to the UIMA, said UIMA Chief Curator Kathleen Edwards, who organized the show.
"We chose the word 'legacy' for the exhibition title because it has to do with what the past provides for the future," Edwards said. "We explore both the significance of the individual paintings that are included in the show and how they came to the museum."
The scope of the exhibition spans seventy years of Modern Art, from Lyonel Feininger’s 1909 A Street in Paris to Philip Guston’s 1979 Ramp. Paintings by Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky, among others, showcase hallmarks of European Modernism, while wartime works by Max Beckmann, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Marden Hartley, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock tap into the intensely humanistic feelings and internationalism of the period. It was in this context, when New York became the center of the art world, that Jackson Pollock created the iconic Mural, considered to be one of the most important Modern American paintings.
The story of Pollock’s Mural and its significance to the University of Iowa, the history of art, and world culture is fascinating and complex. It was Pollock’s impetus that led artists like Philip Guston and Yayoi Kusama, whose work is also featured in the exhibition, to not only invent their own visual props and styles but also encode their autobiographies in their painting.
Artists continually break the rules—even if the rules were once revolutionary (as was the case with Pollock). Appropriately, one of the last innovations presented in A Legacy for Iowa is Ad Reinhardt’s Abstract Painting (1960-1961). The canvas, with its subtle variations in color, represents the artist’s reaction against the Abstract Expressionist movement and earlier painters’ integration of autobiography in their work; Reinhardt aimed to negate expression and the presence of the artist with his work.
Each of the 22 paintings in the exhibition is an iconic example of visual experimentation, innovation, reformation, and transformation—all themes that reside at the heart of the UIMA’s remarkable collections.
A Legacy for Iowa
Pollock’s Mural and Modern Masterworks from the University of Iowa Museum of Art
Kurator: Pamela White