On paper and in fact, Ulrich exhibit shows off

1:55:55 PM CDT - Thursday, July 21, 2005

By Shannon Littlejohn

Warhol Calder Motherwell Fill in the blanks with 37 other celebrated artists and you'll get the Ulrich Museum's latest exhibition "On Paper," culled from its own collection of prints and drawings amassed over the 30 years of the museum's life.

It's an outstanding collection, said Ulrich director David Butler, one that delighted curator of modern and contemporary art Katie Geha as she combed through myriad serigraphs, lithographs, graphite sketches, and screen and woodblock prints to find 40 of the best pieces to show this summer.

Geha is currently in Slovenia on a project and unavailable for comment, but Butler said she chose well for this show from literally hundreds of prints and drawings in the Ulrich's storerooms. The exhibit, which began June 25, runs through the first week of August.

"We've been eager to share with students and the public some of the riches of our post-war prints and drawings collection," said Butler. "It's an amazing collection."

The "On Paper" exhibit shows off both newly acquired and older works, some of which have never been exhibited locally.

Some of the earliest works in the show were among the museum's first acquisitions, purchased with WSU student fees. The prints by Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselman set a high standard, Butler said, for the collection's subsequent growth through gifts and private endowment purchases.

Featuring prints and drawings from the 1960s to the present, the show also includes such artists as Josef Albers, Romare Bearden, Hans Bellmer, Alexander Calder, Jim Dine, Adolph Gottlieb, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Roy Lichtenstein, Ad Reinhardt, Edward Ruscha, Shahzia Sikander and Kara Walker.

Although the mediums are closely related, "On Paper" is a diverse show in size, style and color. Consider Calder's "Circus Book," three black-and-white lithographs that represent the artist-as-young-man's recurring fascination with the circus and its players. Their clean lines contrast with "Dusk in August," a color lithograph by Nevelson; the smaller print broods in browns and blacks. A small riot of primary color graces the Faith Ringgold serigraph "Jo Baker's Birthday" from 1995.

Striking in white lines on blue background, a large screen print of the "Dymaxion Dwelling Machine" by Buckminster Fuller blueprints Fuller's futuristic dream house, one of which was designed for Wichita. Another local connection can be found in Andy Goldsworthy's drawing of the limestone arch now standing near Wilner Auditorium at 17th and Fairmount.

It's a show well worth seeing, said Butler, for longtime members of the museum and first-time visitors. An eccentric and eclectic exhibit, it represents crucial moments in the development of modernism.

For more information, call 978-3664, e-mail ulrich@wichita.edu, or visit www.ulrich.wichita.edu.

"On Paper": This exhibit of post-war prints and drawings from the Ulrich Museum of Art collection began Saturday, June 25, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 7. Admission is free. Gallery hours are 11a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The museum is closed on holidays. For more information or to schedule a tour, call the Ulrich Museum at 978-3664.

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