Lost Boys

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.

Lost Boys, etching and collage on Rives BFK tan paper, 2008

Museum purchase, 2010.073

The daughter of esteemed artist Betye Saar, Alison Saar grew up surrounded by art and artists in Laurel Canyon, California.  She studied art at Scripps College in Claremont, California and earned her MFA from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.  Saar is best known for her sculptures and installations and her work with found materials.  Her art is influenced by folk art and a variety of different cultures.  Saar has earned many awards for her work and she is celebrated internationally.  Her art is held in public and private collections throughout the country; in addition to the CRMA, it can be found in many other prestigious museums, such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

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

This page was first displayed
on January 16, 2014

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