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Des Moines Art Center celebrates sesquicentennial of the Civil War with new print exhibition
Kara Walker (American, born 1969), The Means to an End . . . A Shadow Drama in Five Acts, 1995. Hard-ground etching and aquatint on paper. Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of Doreen M. and Kirk V. Blunck,

DES MOINES, IA.- The Des Moines Art Center opened a print exhibition entitled Black White Gray Blue, which runs through January 29, 2012, in the Print Gallery. Dario Robleto: Survival Does Not Lie In The Heavens also opened on September 23, and will be on view through January 15, 2012, in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery.

Black White Gray Blue features an unusual mix of historical and contemporary prints and works on paper from the Des Moines Art Center’s permanent collection, presenting works in which artists reveal and revisit the horrors of slavery in America; witness, depict, and interpret the War Between the States; and confront this nation’s ongoing legacy of racism. Artists in the exhibition include Robert Colescott, Winslow Homer, Jacob Lawrence, Glenn Ligon, Dario Robleto, and Kara Walker. Homer’s Civil War wood engravings, selected from the Art Center’s complete collection of his published wood engravings, include portraits of the members of congressional delegations of the seceding states, as well as Homer’s images drawn on site in Union military camps and battlefields during the war, and images of civilian life on the home front.

Black White Gray Blue is organized by Amy N. Worthen, curator of prints and drawings.

Related Programs
Gallery Talk Thursday, October 6 / 6:30 pm Print Gallery

Join Worthen for a discussion of this exhibition.

“Roll It Along Thro’ the Nation”: From Slave to Citizen in Popular Song Michael Lasser, music historian and host of National Public Radio’s “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” Thursday, October 13 / 6:30 pm Levitt Auditorium

This talk traces the treatment of blacks in popular music from the second half of the 19th century. The most widely known songs either supported Abolition or came from Minstrel Shows. Though they relied on degrading stereotypes, at least some of them treated blacks in ways that were sympathetic and humanizing. Ironically, the songs of the Confederacy had little to say about slavery as an institution, though some praised individual slaves who were docile and loving. Finally, the talk examines African-American music from the end of the century—ragtime, the blues, and jazz. They mark the first major influences of black culture on American life.

Des Moines Art Center | Black White Gray Blue |

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