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FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art

FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art is an exhibition series that examines and highlights a single work of art, allowing visitors to delve deeply into how we look and how we can develop critical thought, questioning and discussion through art. With multiple perspectives, backgrounds and ways of looking presented, FOCUS invites the viewer to look closely and think deeply in response to the visual world.

September 14 to October 9
Reiman Gallery (lower level, 0003 Morrill Hall), Christian Petersen Art Museum


Border Crossing (Cruzando el Rio Bravo) by Luis Jiménez provides a rich array of possibilities for interpretation and analysis. A new acquisition to the Art on Campus collection, the print offers an excellent example of lithography, a poignant portrait of immigration, a connection to the Iowa State campus, a glimpse into the artist’s family and much more.

A group of faculty from diverse disciplines have offered entrance into these different lenses and expressed the multiplicity of ways to look at a significant work of art. You are encouraged to spend time with the print, read the various interpretations and challenge yourself to discover more, question further and think deeply.

“I had wanted to make a piece dealing with the issue of the illegal alien… People talked about aliens as if they landed from outer space, as if they weren’t really people. I wanted to put a face on them. I wanted to humanize them.”

- Luis Jiménez, artist




FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art Guided Looking Session
Thursday, September 17 - 4:00 to 4:30 p.m.   REGISTER HERE

Image Credit: Border Crossing (Cruzando el Rio Bravo), 1987 by Luis Jiménez. Lithograph with chine colle on rice paper, ed: 80/90. Purchased with funds from the Joyce Tomlinson Brewer Fund for Art Acquisition. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. U2020.6

Aligning with the Visual Literacy Program goals of developing valuable skill sets for visual thinking, this exhibition series challenges and encourages visitors to better understand how they look at art and to focus on building connections and conversations using the lens of art. With several short-run exhibitions each year in the Reiman Gallery (lower level of the Christian Petersen Art Museum), FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art features a diverse array of works of art and artists from the permanent collection, shown one at a time.

For additional questions about this exhibition series or if interested in contributing your expertise for interpretations contact Lilah Anderson, Educator of Visual Literacy and Learning at

Upcoming Exhibition Dates:
March 1 to April 2, 2021
April 12 to May 7, 2021

Lilah Anderson, Educator of Visual Literacy and Learning with University Museums is the Exhibition Series Curator. FOCUS: Critical Conversations with Art is made possible through generous support from the Kathy and John Howell Art Education Fund. Special thanks to the contributing authors Dr. Hector Avalos, Raluca Iancu, Dr. Bonar Hernández, Dr. Emily Morgan, Dr. José Rosa, Dr. Amy Erica Smith and JaneAnn Stout. Thanks to the University Library and Susan Gent for creating the custom reading list.

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