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Pollock’s Mural back in Iowa

BY REBECCA MORIN | JULY 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowans have welcomed home an art favorite.

Jackson Pollock’s Mural, which underwent nearly two years of conservation work, has returned to Iowa. This past weekend, the Sioux City Art Center held an opening for the exhibit.

The display will remain at the art center until April 2015.

“This painting by Jackson Pollock is the most important work of art in Iowa and one of the most significant paintings in American art,” said Sean OHarrow, the director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

Initially scheduled to start on June 10, the now nine-month display is part of Museum of Art’s sharing project called “Legacies for Iowa.” Museums, art centers, and galleries are provided pieces from the UI’s 14,000-part collection as part of the program.

The painting was initially removed from the UI Art Museum in June 2008, when the Iowa River flooded much of the Arts Campus.

It was then loaned to Figge Art Museum in Davenport. Then, it was sent to the Des Moines Art Center in 2012.

After preservation efforts from J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Conservation Institute of Los Angeles, the painting was displayed in Los Angeles starting March before being returned to Iowa.

The Los Angeles display garnered 300,000 visits, which made it one of the most popular shows ever for that institution.

In total, the displays have brought in record-breaking attendance numbers for the painting.

Peggy Guggenheim, who was a modern-art dealer in New York during the 1940s, donated the painting to the university. Mural is valued at more than $150 million.

However, Iowa may not be the last stop for  Mural, as well as other Pollock works.

This past February, officials announced that an international tour is currently in the works for the painting.

Officials said they were in the midst of planning stages to take the 1943 painting on an international tour with other Pollock works. After the tour, the collection will then return to Iowa City once a new space is built for the university’s 14,000-piece art collection.

However, before it starts to travel again, the painting will be part of one large event.

Al Harris-Fernandez, the Sioux City Art Center director, said Mural will be the center’s headliner for the 100th anniversary. Harris-Fernandez said he expects many people from northwestern Iowa, as well as he bordering states, to visit the exhibit.

“[Pollock’s] most significant painting is now back in Iowa for all to see, and I can think of no a better place to hang it than the Sioux City Art Center during its centenary celebration,” O’Harrow said.


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