For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Day
Tel: 515.271.0344 (o)
DES MOINES, IA (January 2024) – The Des Moines Art Center is thrilled to announce the reopening of its Richard Meier building after a transformative upgrade. Portions of the building’s floors and stairs have been refinished, while all of its walls, beams, and columns have been freshly repainted and its galleries entirely reinstalled with an exciting new arrangement of works from the museum’s collections. The Meier building had been closed since September 2023, while crews worked to restore some of the building’s original floors from 1985 and to make other repairs and updates. Senior Curator Laura Burkhalter, together with Associate Curator Dr. Mia Laufer, have reimagined all four levels of the iconic building, featuring seven new acquisitions that have never been on view at the Art Center before, along with dozens more that are coming out of the vault for the first time in several years.
Improvements to the Richard Meier building were made possible by support from the Nationwide Foundation. These upgrades complete the first in a series of capital projects to preserve, protect, and restore our historic buildings, all funded through the Art Center’s 75th Anniversary Campaign. Upcoming projects include the upgrade of our primary accessibility ramp in the Saarinen building, renovations in the A. H. Blank and Kyle and Sharon Krause Galleries that begin in February, and the installation of new lighting in the I. M. Pei building this summer.
Recently accessioned works on view for the first time include “Act III Scene 3: El Viento Empanaba Espejos” (2023) by María Berrío, “Viñales (Chasm)” (2021-2022) by Teresita Fernández, and “Mirror Shield Project” (2016) by Cannupa Hanska Luger.
Colombian born, New York-based artist María Berrío creates surreal, beautiful mixed-media works, taking inspiration from folklore, mythology, and magical realist literature from South America. “Act III Scene 3: El Viento Empanaba Espejos” (2023) (whose poetic title loosely translates as “the wind muddled reflections”) belongs to a series conceived in the form of a fictitious play, “A Feast for Ammit,” that tells the tale of intrigue, desire, and ultimately tragedy.
Teresita Fernández is an American artist of Cuban heritage whose work interrogates landscape as a genre, both in historic imagery and in contemporary discourse. By examining how landscapes are constructed, Fernández challenges her audience to consider the interconnectedness of seemingly distant places and narratives. “Viñales (Chasm)” showcases the artist’s mastery in combining earthen materials with a conceptual approach toward place and image-making.
Cannupa Hanska Luger was born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation. His work “Mirror Shield Project” was a call to action in response to protests at Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016. Luger invited the public to create and send mirrored shields to the Water Protectors along the Dakota Access Pipeline. This social media crowd-sourcing approach to artmaking aims to translate the ephemeral “likes” and “shares” of social media into substantive action.
Additional newly acquired works appear alongside older works by artists Dominic Chambers, Marc Citret, and Henry Taylor among many others.
Visitors are invited to tour the newly opened Meier galleries during museum hours which have recently expanded with grant funding from Art Bridge’s Access for All program. The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 am to 7 pm on Thursdays and Fridays; and 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission to museum galleries is always free.
To request photos or more information, contact Director of External Affairs Amy Day at 515.271.0344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Des Moines Art Center
The Des Moines Art Center is a vibrant, AAM-accredited institution located in the capital city of Iowa that welcomes over 270,000 visitors annually from across the country and around the globe. Its historic campus consists of three buildings designed by major architects of the 20th century—Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier—incorporated into the natural landscape of Greenwood Park. The Art Center is home to one of the strongest collections of 20th and 21st century art in the region, and it hosts a series of ground-breaking exhibitions and lectures each year featuring artists known regionally, nationally, and internationally. The experimental spirit of the art for which the Art Center cares for is reflected in its creative offerings, including a celebrated education program that prioritizes access and collaboration, an art school with studio classes for all ages, and the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, situated on 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines. The Art Center is committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are incorporated into every facet of its mission and identity.