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Upcoming Exhibitions

These are the planned upcoming exhibitions and dates and may include working titles. All exhibitions and dates are subject to change.

Click a museum name to jump to the upcoming exhibitions for that museum

Brunnier Art Museum
Christian Petersen Art Museum
Farm House Museum
Anderson Sculpture Garden

Brunnier Art Museum                    

Joyce J. Scott: Messages
January 2023 – April 2023

University Museums has the exceptional opportunity to host a new exhibition of the artist Joyce J. Scott. The exhibition Joyce J. Scott: Messages will open at the Brunnier Art Museum in January and run through April 2023. Included will be around 36 unique sculptures and neckpieces displaying Scott’s technical virtuosity with beadwork. Several early examples will exhibit Scott’s ability with such an intricate medium, along with others made in the last few years, demonstrating her commitment to using beads to explore difficult subjects that confront Black Americans in our society. The exhibition will also include University Museums' recent acquisition in 2020 of Scott’s Fairytale Neckpiece, which will then be lent to travel to several other museums with the exhibition.

Joyce J. Scott is a dynamic artist and performer best known for her use of beadwork as her artistic medium of choice. Scott uses beads to create highly detailed, intricate three-dimensional sculptures and neckpieces that are commentaries on a range of subjects: racism, misogyny, equality, her heritage, and much more. Art has always surrounded Scott as she grew up learning from and watching her mother, fiber artist Elizabeth Talford Scott, create uniquely stitched quilts (Elizabeth had learned to quilt from her mother), and she draws greatly on the artistic heritage of her family and culture. Her beadwork uses those traditional techniques to address contemporary issues in a bold and confrontational manner, creating works of art that are both beautiful and significant. Scott was named a MacArthur Fellow, also known as the MacArthur “Genius Grant,” in 2016, solidifying her status as a significant American artist whose creations continue to push artistic boundaries.

This exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity to engage with the Iowa State University community on subjects ranging from the history of glass to social justice and contemporary issues in America. Joyce J. Scott: Messages will be a testament to the power of Scott to use the tiniest of material, glass beads, to create profound statements on the world as she views it.


Telling Tales: Exploring Narrative Art in the Permanent Collection
January 17 – July 23, 2023

Narrative art employs visual representations to tell a story without words. Basic to humanity, narrative art can be found from prehistoric times to the present and is represented throughout cultures and societies. What has driven the need for humans to depict stories visually?

While at times narrative art has been criticized for being too straightforward in concept, it continues to persist across time, media, and cultures. The desire to tell stories, personal or of others, will never cease to exist, and the interest in visual depictions of those stories drives the continued popularity and development of narrative art. University Museums’ permanent collection includes a wide range of narrative art, from the obvious to the abstract.

A major focus of the mission of University Museums is to aid students in developing visual literacy skills. Visual literacy is the ability to visually read a work of art and comprehend the stories artists have carefully drawn, carved, printed, and formed, while at the same time constructing personal interpretations based on their understanding of the imagery. Narrative art continues to exist because it is adaptable and at times shaped by the viewer who may already have a sense of the story presented or may be seeing it for the first time. That story then becomes their own unique interpretation, one they can hold personally or share with others through language or visual representation, continuing the tradition of storytelling for future generations.


Epergnes from the Duncan Collection
August 21 – December 15, 2023
Ann Brunnier Decorative Arts Gallery

An exhibition of 36 glass epergnes from the collection of Karen and Robert Duncan. Originally collected by Karen’s mother who lived in Clarinda, Iowa, these elegant epergnes graced dining tables and special events. Inspired by centuries-old traditions of dining still life arrangements, epergnes elegantly exhibited fruits, fancy desserts, and delectables to be served at the conclusion of a formal dining experience.


April Surgent
August 21 – December 15, 2023

The Brunnier Art Museum will host an exhibition and unveil a new commission for the permanent collection by April Surgent, a glass artist based in the Pacific Northwest. Surgent employs the use of cameo engraving, an ancient technique in both gem cutting and glassmaking that demands exceptional skill, ability, and patience. As a coldworking technique for the decoration of glass, it is practiced by few contemporary American glass artists. Surgent spent years studying with Czech glass artist Jiří Harcuba, the premier 20th-century cameo glass engraver. Over time, she has developed the ability to delicately render landscapes through the use of subtle gradation of depth and tone found through cameo engraving. She is unmatched in her ability to depict powerful representations of landscapes and environmental concerns through glass.

Surgent is both an artist and an impassioned environmentalist. Through important research fellowships everywhere from Antarctica to Hawaii, Surgent has spent years attempting to understand the environmental impacts of climate change and humanity on ecologically significant regions. She then uses her research from these locations to create single or multipaneled cameo engravings representing the impacts and the precious beauty of those environments being lost before our eyes. Surgent uses her art to voice the need for global change to save what we can before it is lost.


Pulped Under Pressure
August 21 – December 15, 2023

With traditional hand papermaking at its core, Pulped Under Pressure underscores important contemporary issues steeped in history and craft. Enticed through touch, these works encourage a contemplative slowing down even as they urge acknowledgment of some of the most pressing issues facing civilization today. Each of the artists (Jillian Bruschera, Julia Goodman, Reni Gower, Trisha Oralie Martin, Melissa Potter, Marilyn Propp, Maggie Puckett) starts simply with a foundation of pulp made from natural fibers. In very unique ways, these artists consider paper beyond its most common function as a passive surface record or craft. Instead, the material is transformed and imbedded with content that turns communication into a public practice.


Elizabeth Catlett
January 16 – May 10, 2024

Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), a sculptor and printmaker, is widely considered one of the most important African American artists of the 20th century. Her work blended art and social consciousness and confronted the most disturbing injustices against African Americans. She is best known for her work during the 1960s and 70s when she created politically charged, black expressionistic sculptures and prints. Catlett was born in Washington, D.C. in 1919. She attended Howard University where she studied design, printmaking, and drawing. In 1940 Catlett became the first student to receive a Master's degree in sculpture at the University of Iowa. In 1946 Catlett received a fellowship that allowed her to travel to Mexico City where she studied painting, sculpture, and lithography. There, she worked with the People's Graphic Arts Workshop, a group of printmakers dedicated to using their art to promote social change. After settling in Mexico and later becoming a Mexican citizen, she taught sculpture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City until retiring in 1975.


Small Pleasures: Tiny Art from the Permanent Collection
August 27 – December 20, 2024


Barrágan: A Spiritual Master
August 27 – December 20, 2024
Lori A. Jacobson Gallery

Luis Barrágan (1902-1988) was a renowned Mexican architect and engineer known for elegant residences and aesthetic gardens with powerful water features. Barrágan’s visual vocabulary used natural elements of water, timber, and stucco paired with vibrant color and texture. He received the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1980.

This exhibition includes twenty-six photographs by Robert Duncan, which explore and are a response to the stunning beauty, architectural elegance, and color of Barrágan’s architectural masterpieces Cuadra San Crist́obal and Casa Gilardi. Curated by Anne Pagel with Merrill Peterson, collaborator.


Fairytales from the Permanent Collection
January – July 2025


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Christian Petersen Art Museum

Harriet Bart: Material Alchemy
January 25– July 7, 2023 
Campbell Gallery and Reiman Gallery

Harriet Bart’s body of work, from early textile-based objects to the public sculpture placed at Iowa State University, often examines the act of remembering. In her art, importance is placed on the written word as well as the power objects command in remembering, protecting, and transforming oneself. Through the consolidation of objects, meditation, and poetry, much of Bart’s art invites the viewer to Pay Attention to What They Tell you to Forget, as quoted from Muriel Rukeyser from Double Ode, 1976. Many of the public works in the Art on Campus Collection serve as reminders to those on campus, calling attention to the collective and diverse histories of campus and beyond, and to the experiences of others we may so easily forget or even not consider. This exhibition examines how Bart’s works of art fit into that tradition of public remembrances and experiences through art.


Through the Photographic Lens of King Au: Honoring Jack Trice
January 17 – October 11, 2023
Neva M. Petersen Gallery

Art has the power to commemorate, memorialize, celebrate, and honor. A hundred years after Trice’s death, this exhibition offers an examination of the artistic process and unique expressions of three campus sculptures created by three nationally known public artists, all honoring Jack Trice and his legacy at Iowa State University. In photography, King Au (Chinese American, b. 1960) was commissioned by University Museums to visually capture the site-specific sculptures through his creative lens. Since 1995 Au has been photographing Iowa State’s Art on Campus Collection. For this commission, Au captures Trice sculptors Christopher B. Bennett (American, b. 1953); Ed Dwight (American, b. 1935); and Ivan Toth Depeña (American, b. 1972). Au adds his own unique interpretations of Trice’s legacy to these three narrative and abstracted sculptural tributes on ISU’s campus.


Tom Stancliffe
August – December 2023

This exhibition is a unique opportunity to view both studio works of art by a local public artist who is an integral part of the University Museums’ Art on Campus Collection. Not only is Tom Stancliffe a gifted artist, but he has dedicated years of his career to building up the Public Art Incubator at UNI, which continues to teach students in the processes of creating public art, and conserving works of art to be enjoyed for years to come. Many objects within the Art on Campus Collection have been conserved by the hands of Tom Stancliffe and the Public Art Incubator. Through this exhibition, his studio works of art will be highlighted, and his contributions to public art within the state of Iowa will be celebrated as well.

This exhibition featuring many newly created works of art will explore how the materiality of the object and its form assists in conveying the feeling of the world as the artist experiences it, and the concept of displacement is prominent. Societal order is disrupted as climate change, politics, and even the act of changing the Iowa landscape to produce crops displaces that which we once understood as having an order within our landscape and society.


In Their Time (working title)
August 26 – December 20, 2024
Reiman Gallery

This exhibition considers objects in the museums’ permanent collection and discusses if, how, and when the objects are evaluated and judged by curators and audiences over time. When accessioned objects are "museum collection worthy" and, today, these same objects appear dated, perhaps no longer of today's standard. The art did not change; aesthetic tastes and judgment have evolved. This exhibition raises and explores questions of art criticism, "art is forever," changing tastes, relevancy, curatorial judgments, fluctuating monetary values, and cultural/social values over time, and museums’ responsibilities to future generations--a cornucopia of discussion.


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Farm House Museum

Growing Up Victorian
January 2023 – October 2023

The Growing Up Victorian exhibition shows an aspect of the American Frontier that is often overlooked. Children were an integral part of the daily lives of Americans during the Gilded Age (1870-1900). Children would help out with both household chores and, if they were on a farm, farm duties and responsibilities. The amount of work that children did at home left little room for fun as the secondary priority soon became schooling.

In the mid to late 1800s, nearly half of all children received no formal schooling or education of any kind. By eighteen-ninety, a law passed in Massachusetts that required children from the ages of six to ten to attend school. When children were in school, it was nothing like it is today. Many children would be ushered into the ever so famous one-room schoolhouses where they would spend their day learning from their teachers, have an hour break for lunch and roughly fifteen minutes for recess, then venture home. 

Many games played at school or at home would most often be games either made up on the spot or games that can be played with minimal equipment. Toys were also different from what we see today: porcelain dolls, tea sets, game balls, dominos, yo-yos, rolling hoops, and books. This period of time has come to be known as the “Golden Age'' for children’s literature as evidenced by the generation-defining titles published in this era, including Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Mark Twain’s famous book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Childhood and play are essential parts of understanding life in Victorian America, leading to decoding and how adolescents were shaped from a young age with both an ethic for hard work and creativity in play.


November – December 2023


World Fairs, Expositions & Centennial Celebrations of the Victorian Era
February – October 2024

Between 1851 and 1910, there were 13 major World’s Fairs or Expositions. Fairs and Expositions were wildly popular attractions and extremely costly to create. Though the first major fairs were in Europe, the trend quickly moved to the U.S.  Through exhibitions, architecture, and access to “far away” cultures, these European and U.S. events became epicenters for the exchange of knowledge, a show of nationalism, and unique innovations through industrialization. Decorative art objects were key catalysts in illustrating to attendees Victorian ideals, trends, and “best taste.”

This exhibition illustrates through objects and narrative the earliest World’s Fair in 1851 London through several in Paris and the Centennial and World’s Columbian Exhibitions in the United States. The objects tell the story of how glass, pottery, sculpture, and other arts were innovative for their time and on-trend or trendsetters for the movements of the Victorian Era, Japanese influences on Western art, and Art Nouveau. These major public events full of over-the-top fanfare gave access to wide audiences, often millions, while revealing to attendees the peoples and cultures from the furthest of lands. 


November – December 2024


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Anderson Sculpture Garden

Tom Stancliffe
September 2023 – July 2025

Large-scale sculptures by Tom Stancliffe will be featured in the Anderson Sculpture Garden for two years allowing students, faculty, and visitors to the University to take in Stancliffe’s work within the context of the University campus architecture, the changing seasons, and in conversation with the plantings within the Anderson Sculpture Garden.


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