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Color Matters

In the Reiman Gallery, Morrill Hall Rm. 003
Monday, September 27 - Friday, October 29, 2021

Guest Curated by Dr. Jonathan Sturm, Professor of Music

Color Matters explores the complex relationship humans have with color and how color shapes how we see and understand the world.

About the Exhibition

As much as any single thing, color literally “colors” our perception of the world. We identify so much of our world via color that, without it, meaning would virtually cease. Colors define out natural spaces—from blue oceans or grey skies, to green forests or tan deserts, to sunsets, seasons, temperatures, and rainbows. Colors also define our created world, identifying our moods, marketed brands, political parties, university pride, and national movements. The eye transmits colors, but it is the brain that sees them, and because of lived experiences across a lifetime, it has no choice but to add interpretation to every instance of color it experiences. Engage with artwork from the permanent collection that explores how humans experience color.     

Exhibition Programs

Find full descriptions of programs on the University Museums Calendar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Events listed below in Reiman Gallery, Morrill Hall Rm. 003 unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. Check the University Museums Calendar and Facebook page for the latest events information.


Opening Reception

Monday, September 27, 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Get a first look at the exhibition. Remarks at 5:00 pm by Dr. Jonathan Sturm. Light refreshments.


Curator’s Exploration with Dr. Jonathan Sturm

Tuesday, September 28, noon-12:30 p.m. University Museums YouTube (will be available to view after)

Enjoy a virtual exploration of the newest reACT exhibition Color Matters with the guest curator as he shares his thoughts on the concept, discusses highlights of the exhibition, and invites you to visit in person and reACT.



Open House Weekend

Saturday & Sunday, October 2 & 3, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Enjoy three fall exhibitions during the fall open house weekend.

At Christian Petersen Art Museum, see Charles Ginnever: Folded Forms and reACT exhibition Color Matters, guest curated by Dr. Jonathan Sturm, Professor of Music. At the Farm House Museum, the exhibition Flicker and Flame: Whale Oil and Kerosene Lamps, will be open.


Color Improv with Dr. Sonja Giles, Mike Giles, and Dr. Jonathan Sturm,

Tuesday, October 5, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

With the synesthetic experience in mind (one sense in conjunction with another, such as music being heard as well as seen), we have asked professional musicians to create improvisations based on the works of art in the reACT exhibition Color Matters, translating color into sound. Join us and experience the sound of color at this unique event.


Gallery Chat with Dr. Monic Behnken

October 27, noon- 12:30 p.m.

Join in a facilitated discussion of the reACT exhibition Color Matters. Hear different perspectives from Dr. Monic Behnken as well as have the opportunity to ask questions and reACT to the exhibition.

Dr. Monic Behnken is Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.



TOP IMAGE: Hushed by Sharon A. Booma. Oil and mixed media on paper. Purchased with funds from the Office of the Vice President for Research. In the Art on Campus Collection.

SECOND IMAGE: Blue Bridges, 1972 by Eric Sealine. Oil on canvas. Gift of Carmon Slater and Donald Randall. In the Art on Campus Collection.

THIRD IMAGE: Bowl, 1970-1915 by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Manufactured by Tiffany Studios. Glass, blown, favrile. Gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier.

LAST IMAGE: Washtub Blues, 2000 by Allison Saar. Woodcut on unbleached Thai mulberry paper. Gift of Diane Greenlee for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics. In the Art on Campus Collection.

Visit the Reiman Gallery

Hours: Currently closed. Will reopen Monday, September 27
Monday through Friday, noon - 4:00 p.m.
Closed weekends and University Holidays

Address: Rm. 003 Morrill Hall, 603 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa

Admission: free, suggested donation of $8

The reACT Exhibition Series is organized by University Museums and sponsored by the Offices of the Vice President for Research and the Senior Vice President for the Division of Operations and Finance.

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