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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Art notes: ‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ exhibition at Joslyn

At some point in our lives, we’ve all made a mark on a piece of paper.Whether using a pencil, crayon or pen, we all can relate to drawing or, at the very least, doodling. That’s why the works in “Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art” at the Joslyn Art Museum are so relatable — even when those geniuses are artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Klimt and Degas.That’s because drawing is how all artists — irrespective of medium — start, said Joslyn’s associate curator
of European Art Dana Cowen. “Drawing is a skill artists have to have before they can do anything else. There is such a sense of immediacy and intimacy with drawings. You can imagine the artist making the lines. You can see how it’s pure creation.”
Works range from the mid-15th century to the present day, and mediums include pencil, pen-and-ink, charcoal and paint. “Anything done on paper is considered a drawing,” Cowen said. “It can be preparatory — a study for something else. It can be exploratory and experimental. Or it can be an independent drawing for a drawing’s sake.”The selections are broken into themes such as “Artist as Observer,” “Abstraction” and “Storytelling” to help viewers make connections among subjects such as portraits, landscapes and still lifes that they otherwise wouldn’t make.In the “Sense of Place” gallery, for example, abstract landscapes by John Marin, Emil Nolde and Max Beckmann, all pioneers of expressionism in the first half of the 20th century, provide insights into the creative process and make it easy for viewers to relate to both the works and the artists. “You can just picture them working en plein air,” Cowen said.The show also is a rare chance to see art that literally doesn’t often see the light of day. “Works on paper are so fragile, especially to light.” said Cowen. “You can show them for six months and then they have to go back into dark storage for several years. For Omahans, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these drawings. There is just so much to see. The longer you spend time with them, the more interesting they become.”

Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. “Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art Public Tours.” 1 to 2 p.m. Friday and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Exhibition admission: General public adults, $10 (Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m., $5); college students, $5; youth 17 and younger, Joslyn members and UNMC students, free. Through Jan. 7.joslyn.org or 402-342-3300.
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