A Thousand Words #9

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art--Some Assembly Required: Collage and Assemblage

This week the Daily Palette is celebrating Some Assembly Required: Collage and Assemblage at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA). This exhibition, which runs through January 26, 2014, takes a look at the breadth and depth of collage and assemblage, especially in the hands of American artists.

In the 19th century, before the emergence of the term collage, the gluing together bits of paper—tickets, photographs, printed texts—was largely a craft, a technique used for scrapbooks and other domestic memorabilia. In the early 20th century, however, European artists such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso started to incorporate bits of paper into their paintings, elevating the activity of collage into a fine art. Collage was born. Assemblage, the three-dimensional equivalent of collage, was not far behind.

Both collage and assemblage art began as a radical new way of art-making, turning its back on more traditional practices of painting and sculpting. Collages and assemblages evoke a delight in everyday things and a somewhat subversive attitude toward the "established" art world. The use of non-art materials, or even junk from the everyday world, often evokes a rawness, and occasionally poetic, qualities.

Some Assembly Required features the work of many Iowan artists, such as Grant Wood, Mauricio Lasansky, Chuck Barth, and many more. Some of the works on view date back to the 1920s, near the origin of the technique. Others demonstrate the long-lasting impact of these early experiments on multiple generations of artists. In each artist's hands, however, collage and assemblage take on a different form, reflecting each artist's unique vision.

A Thousand Words #9, collage and graphite on newsprint on panel, 2010

Museum purchase, 2011.070

Len Davis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.  He works with mixed media and collage, and enjoys creating interesting combinations of colors and textures.  His art has been exhibited throughout the country—from Vermont to California.  2013 was a typically busy year for Davis.  In addition to Some Assembly Required, his work was also exhibited at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Pensacola State College in Florida, and at many other venues in both solo and group exhibitions.  His schedule for 2014 and 2015, which includes an exhibition and artist talk in Indianola, Iowa, will prove to be just as busy.

Len Davis's website

Image and exhibition summary courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

This page was first displayed
on January 13, 2014

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