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Brunnier Art Museum

Christian Petersen Art Museum

Farm House Museum


Brunnier Art Museum

The Brunnier Art Museum is temporarily closed for renovations. 

Christian Petersen Art Museum

Figurative Expression: Manuel Neri and Christian Petersen

May 29 - July 27, 2018

The human figure has endured as a powerful and expressive subject for artists’ portrayals throughout the history of art.  The figurative tradition was firmly established at Iowa State by sculptor Christian Petersen, who was active in the American art scene from 1923 to 1961. Another significant American sculptor, Manuel Neri, was active nationally and internationally from the 1950s to 2010.  This exhibition explores the varied approaches to media and subject by these two artists as they engaged with the human figure and expressed issues of identity, personal history, and social change that reveal the capacity of art to capture the complexity of the human experience.

Many of the works of art in this exhibition were acquisitioned to the University Museums Permanent Collection from the Manuel Neri Trust in 2017. Neri generously gifted 42 works of art, including maquettes, drawings, paintings, and large-scale sculpture. This gift amplifies the human figurative tradition at Iowa State University, pioneered by Christian Petersen, the nation’s first permanent campus artist in residence from 1934 to 1955 at Iowa State University.

The exhibition is funded by the University Museums membership.


Commissioning a Collection: 75 Years of Public Art

Located in the Neva M. Petersen, Visual Literacy and Learning Gallery, Morrill Hall           

Beauty and order inspire learning and good citizenship, according to Adonijah S. Welch, Iowa State’s first president (1868-1883).  He then began planning and planting the landscape of campus that today is internationally known for its beauty. In the 1930s, President Raymond M. Hughes (1927-1936) expanded this fundamental institutional value of the aesthetic campus and began collecting public art for educational and inspirational purposes for Iowa State students, and 75 years later ISU has the nation’s largest campus public art collection, the Art on Campus Collection with over 600 major public works of art located across campus.

Just as Presidents Welch and Hughes envisioned and President Gregory Geoffroy (2001-2012) supported by renovating Morrill Hall and founding the Christian Petersen Art Museum as a center for Art on Campus educational programs and collections, the Art on Campus Collection is a strategic educational for Iowa State students.  This collection is continually integrated in curriculum across campus and forms a core for the Visual Literacy and Learning Program. Through the practice of visual literacy-reading and understanding objects- all students improve critical thinking and communication skills.

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums from the Art on Campus Model and Maquette Collection.


Farm House Museum

In Focus: Daguerreotypes, Tintypes and Photographs from the Farm House Museum Collection 

January 16 – October 31, 2018  

In 1839 the French painter Paul Delaroche stated, “From today painting is dead,” in response to watching a daguerreotype being made due to the precise detail the medium contained. The daguerreotype was the first process in a history of pioneering techniques that can be defined as photography.

Photography, as we know it today, takes place on the screen of a computer or phone, but before the invention of these devices all photographs were physical objects that could be touched, turned, held and looked at under a magnifying glass. During the 20th century most photographs were captured on light sensitive film and printed on paper in a darkroom using silver salts to chemically reproduce the image. Before the technology of film, photographers would haul around plates of metal and glass that they treated with light-sensitive chemicals to capture images. The technology required massive box cameras to hold the plates. These early photographic processes fell out of use when more convenient technologies took their place, but the detail present in images from this period is hard to replicate even with digital cameras.

The exhibition, In Focus, displays the Farm House Museum’s collection of early photography, defining the various photographic processes from the 1800s. The daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes in the exhibit will educate visitors on what photography looked like in its early years and how different the art and science of the medium is today.

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