The North Dakota Mural

The Ruth and Seymour Landfield Atrium

The landscape in North Dakota is the sky—the stars at night, the clouds in the daytime. At night I thought about the stars and light-years and the speed of light and everything that was sort of inexplicable.

— James Rosenquist, Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life in Art

With the installation of The North Dakota Mural at Plains Art Museum in 2010, James Rosenquist returned to his home state in a big way. Drawing on his childhood memories of the Great Plains, he created a work that speaks to the wide open spaces, huge vistas, and ocean-like skies of the region. Using his signature style of mixing different images together at varied scales, he invites us to contemplate how nature, society, culture, agriculture, industry, and history relate to each other in this particular place. The heavens of stars, nebulae, and galaxies depicted in the upper half of the painting make us ponder our place in the universe as much as our location on planet Earth.

The North Dakota Mural was commissioned by Plains Art Museum as part of a major capital campaign. Many in the local arts community have worked toward this long-standing dream of acquiring a major work by this important artist and local son. Plains Art Museum thanks James Rosenquist for his in-kind donation of creative work and an anonymous donor who supported the commissioning of this artwork. Additional thanks go to the National Endowment for the Arts and an anonymous donor for supporting installation costs.

  • James Rosenquist, The North Dakota Mural, 2010, oil on canvas, 13 x 24 ft., Gift of an Anonymous Donor in honor of Dr. Jovan Brkić, a world-renowned scholar of philosophy, gentleman, and friend; and made possible by an in-kind creative gift by James Rosenquist, © James Rosenquist.

Other Exhibitions

Mike Marth

June 21, 2018 - October 7, 2018
This is Not a Still Life

This is Not a Still Life explores the multiple dimensions of Moorhead (MN)-based artist Mike Marth’s artwork and its remarkable evolution. Exhibiting a mastery of materials, Marth’s work is often formal in nature, emphasizing its inherent qualities of form, style, symbolism, and texture.

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Flatlander

June 7, 2018 - September 15, 2018
Belonging to the Land 

Flatlander: Belonging to The Land is a series by artist John Hitchcock that views and comments on the Great Plains as the epicenter for Plains tribal culture. In the series, Hitchcock utilizes drawing and printmaking processes to convey and layer thoughts about removal, displacement, and belonging.

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John Hitchcock: Protectors

June 7, 2018 - September 15, 2018

Protectors, a screenprint installation by artist John Hitchcock, uses multiple screenprinted images of bison skulls mounted on a background of Naugahyde pelts. The pelt forms suggest landmasses, and each element connects to the environment through form, placement, and symbol.

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Lakota Emergence

May 31, 2018 - September 1, 2018

Curated by Dr. Craig Howe from the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) in Martin, South Dakota, Lakota Emergence focuses entirely on the Lakota emergence narrative as recorded in “How the Lakota Came Upon the World,” published in 1917. The place of Lakota emergence is centered at Wind Cave in what is now known as the Black Hills in South Dakota.

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Now You See Me . . .

May 24, 2018 - March 23, 2019
Reflections on Portraits and Abstractions from the Collection

If one looks closely and listens carefully, works of art can ask important questions that elicit understanding of our world. For example, what societal factors influence how an artist depicts another person?

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