Fall 2012

Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography

October 12 through December 30, 2012

Curator: Miles Barth

rising dragon

The exhibition Rising Dragon showcased the work of 36 artists using photographic techniques to highlight contradictions between the carefully controlled public image of China and discreet personal gestures informed by Western influence. Organized by the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York, and curated by Miles Barth, the exhibition included images that explore such themes as identity, cultural memory, globalization, and the urbanization and degradation of nature. These images depicted a gripping portrait of a country filled with contradictions and cast an ironic and critical look at China’s rising power as a political and economic contender for global leadership. The artists represented in this exhibition captured moments of hardship, uncertainty, disorder, and pleasure in the everyday experiences of contemporary China.

Among the photographers represented in the exhibition were Cao Fei, Weng Fen, Yu Haibo, Zhang Huan, Sun Ji, Wang Jin, Liyu + Liubo, Wang Qingsong, Rong Rong, Li Wei, Huang Yan, and Qui Zhijie.

Sponsored in part by Fox Development Corporation, Krannert Art Museum Council, and Petals & Paintings 2012. Image credit: Zhang Xiao, Three Gorges, No. 1, from the series Three Gorges, 2008, Digital chromogenic print © Zhang Xiao

Select Programming:

October 11
5–6 pm: Private Members’ Reception
6–8 pm: Public Opening Reception (museum open until 9 pm)
Featured opening comments by Allyson Purpura, curator of African Art, followed by live African dance music by Les Vainqueurs with band leader Lebon Mikandu. Hosted by the Krannert Art Museum Council

October 18
5:30 pm: Film Screening
The World (2004), directed by Jia Zhangke
Sponsored in part by the Asian Educational Media Service/Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies and Krannert Art Museum

Fields of Indigo: Installation by Rowland Ricketts with Sound by Norbert Herber

August 31 through December 30, 2012

Guest Curator: Anne Burkus-Chasson


A collaboration between textile artist Rowland Ricketts and sound artist Norbert Herber, this installation led visitors through the process of making indigo, a plant dye historically derived from a variety of plants including Polygonum tinctorum (also known as “dyer’s knotweed”). Indigo-dyed cloth was highly sought after for centuries around the globe and has long been identified with Japan, where Ricketts trained in the dyers’ shops of Tokushima. In his work, Ricketts focuses on the corporeal aspects of the dye’s production; color is imbued with the memory of movement. Thus, through sound and video collage, the movements of visitors in the gallery illuminated how indigo is grown, composted, decomposed, and concocted into a pungent dye. As visitors tread on the indigo, separating leaf from stem, they took part in the winnowing that initiates the plant’s decomposition.

The sounds emanating from the gallery were collected at various sites, threading connections among them: Illinois’ Sustainable Student Farm, where the indigo was grown and harvested; Ricketts’s farm-studio in Bloomington, Indiana; and the fields and dyers’ shops in Tokushima, where Ricketts was supervising part of the 2012 National Cultural Festival in celebration of indigo and helping reinvent a craft largely abandoned. The installation embodied transformation: a sensuous domain, displaced from a tilled field and juxtaposed with the deep surfaces of dyed cloth, which embodies both a history of work and the generative force of seed.

Sponsored in part by the Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artists Fund/College of Fine and Applied Arts and Krannert Art Museum. Image credit: Rowland Ricketts and Norbert Herber, Installation view, 2012 © Rowland Ricketts and Norbert Herber

Click here for more information on the exhibition and its collaboration with IJPAN.

Click here to watch a video of a dance performance within the installation.

Select Programming:

September 23
3–4:30 pm: Installation Performance
Installation Sound artist Norbert Herber, from Indiana, created a live sound score from live audio feeds from Japan and other remote locations, as dancers moved through the installation interacting with the drying indigo leaves, marking their progress of decay and transformation. The performance was broadcast live on the web at http://IJPAN.illinois.edu. Sponsored in part by IJPAN and Krannert Art Museum

September 27
5:30 pm: Artist Talk and Gallery Conversation
“Indigo: From Seed to Dye,” a gallery talk with exhibiting artist Rowland Ricketts followed by a dialogue with Anne Burkus-Chasson, guest curator and associate professor of Art History; Gillen D’Arcy Wood, director of Sustainability Studies Initiative in the Humanities and professor of English; Sarah Taylor Lovell, assistant professor of Sustainable Landscape Design; and Gregory Levine, associate professor of Japanese Art, University of California at Berkeley. Sponsored by the Frances P. Rohlen Visiting Artists Fund/College of Fine and Applied Arts

Fashioning Traditions in Japan

August 31, 2012 through May 26, 2013

Guest Curator: Anne Burkus-Chasson

The word "tradition" denotes something that is handed down from the past; it generally implies changelessness and venerability. Nonetheless, the artistic traditions of Japan that were highlighted in this exhibition show another side of things that have been transmitted from the past—that is, their inherent instability. The series of displays in this installation demonstrated how Japanese artists appropriated iconographical motifs common to Chinese objects to invent traditions that acquired an authenticity that is uniquely theirs. In other cases, we saw how Japanese textile artists manipulated one particular dyeing technique to imitate the effect of another more labor-intensive technique. This installation accompanied the exhibition Fields of Indigo.

Sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency; Image credit: Japanese, Yukata Panel Fragment, with designs of flowering gourds, 1800s–1900s, Cotton, katazome on plain weave ground, Spencer Museum of Art, the University of Kansas, 1992.0084

MunterExpressions in Color:
Selections from the 20th-Century Collection

May 22 through December 30, 2012

Curator: Kathryn Koca Polite

Highlighting modern American and European works from the museum's permanent collection, this exhibition considers not only the expressive language of color, but particularly how color carries the potential to alter our experiences—perceptually, emotionally, and spiritually. The installation focuses on several stylistic movements, including the German expressionist Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) artists who believed in the spiritual qualities of color, evoking a mystical significance through brilliant hues. Other artists, like the Color Field painters of the 1950s and 1960s, investigated the functions of pure color—how the placement of solid, flat areas of pigment can create both dynamic and subtle movement. Meant as an overview of different techniques and approaches to using color, the exhibition includes works by Karel Appel, Max Beckmann, Gabriele Münter, David Park, among others.

Sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency; Image credit: Gabriele Münter, The Blue Gable, 1911, Oil on canvas, Gift of Albert L. Arenberg 1956-13-1

Egúngún! Power Concealed

August 31 through December 30, 2012

Guest Curator: Timothy R. Landry


In a gallery adjacent to the African Gallery Reinstallation, Timothy Landry, a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology, guest curated the focus exhibition Egúngún! Power Concealed. This exhibition was based upon research Landry recently completed in the West African nation of Benin. Egúngún are powerful Yoruba ancestors who are periodically summoned by their descendants to bring blessings and counsel to the world of the living. This exhibition featured a lavishly sequined, full body egúngún costume and undergarments and projected a video of an egúngún in performance.

Sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency; Image credit: Egúngún, Ouidah, Benin, Photo: Timothy R. Landry, 2011

Select Programming:

November 8
5:30 pm: Gallery Conversation
“Egúngún! Power Concealed,” with Timothy Landry, guest curator and doctoral candidate in Anthropology

School of Art + Design Faculty Exhibition

August 31 through September 23, 2012


The annual exhibition highlighted new work produced by the School of Art + Design faculty, ranging from paintings and sculpture to graphic design and new media. This show provided the community with an opportunity to view work by the school's world-class artists and designers and to explore the collaborative relationship between the School of Art + Design and Krannert Art Museum.

Sponsored by Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency. Image credit: Installation view, 2012

Encounters: The Arts of Africa

Opening: October 12, 2012

Curator: Allyson Purpura

Wosene Worke Kosrof
Migrations II, 2006
Acrylic on canvas
© Wosene Worke Kosrof

KAM was excited to open its newly designed gallery devoted to the arts of Africa. Visitors were welcomed by a completely renovated space with a new interpretive framework, casework, lighting, layout, and entranceways into the gallery. The thematically organized installation was inspired by the idea that objects can “tell” multiple stories, not only about themselves but also about the broader social contexts and often fraught global histories through which they have journeyed. Indeed, as a 21st century museum, KAM is committed to raising awareness about the “life histories” of African artworks, as well as the museum’s role in shaping our understanding of those histories.

The installation displayed approximately 70 artworks from KAM’s African holdings, many of which had not been on view for decades. An 18th-century bronze hip mask from the Kingdom of Benin testified both to the mastery of the bronze casting workshops of the Oba’s court and to the illicit means by which many such objects were taken from the Oba’s palace during the British punitive expedition of 1897. Another collection highlight included a grouping of small, intimate works by Chokwe, Kuba, Dogon, and Pende artists that were made to be held, carried, or serve otherworldly forces. These objects invited close examination and possessed grace that transcends their modest dimensions.

The renovated exhibition space and installation design for the African Gallery was conceived and detailed by Rice+Lipka Architects, New York, New York. An accompanying brochure for the reinstallation was designed by Studio Blue, Chicago.

Sponsored in part by the Theresa and Harlan E. Moore Charitable Trust Fund, Krannert Art Museum; the Arnold O. Beckman Award, U of I Campus Research Board; and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency

Select Programming:

October 11, 5–6 pm
Private Members’ Reception
Please RSVP to Chris Schaede (217 244 0516 or kam@illinois.edu) by Friday, October 5.

October 11, 6–8 pm
(museum open until 9 pm)
Public Opening Reception
With opening comments by Allyson Purpura, curator of African Art, at 6 pm followed by live African dance music by Les Vainqueurs with band leader Lebon Mikandu
Cash bar provided by Michaels’ Catering
Hosted by the Krannert Art Museum Council

October 25, 5:30 pm
Gallery Conversation
“Creating Community Through African Art”
With Anne Lutomia, doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership; Sam Smith, engagement director of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; and Mabinty Tarawallie, master’s student in Social Work. Moderated by Allyson Purpura, curator

December 7, 7 pm
The African Francophone Choir
With Yamfu Nlandu, choir director, accompanied by live band

2012 Area High School
Art Exhibition

December 6, 2012 through January 6, 2013

The School of Art + Design and Krannert Art
Museum with the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign hosted the third annual
art exhibition for area high school art students
in the Link Gallery. This exhibition was an
opportunity for art students in area high
schools to present their work to the community.