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

Spring Gala 2018

April 5, 2018 - May 5, 2018
Art Auction Preview

Every year, Plains Art Museum hosts one of the region’s finest art auctions in conjunction with our Spring Gala. The auction is not only a great exhibition of contemporary art, but is your chance to build a collection, support the livelihoods of artists, and support your art museum.

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Architecture for the Birds

March 22, 2018 - August 25, 2018
NDSU Department of Architecture & Landscape Architecture

Architecture for the Birds is a popular annual exhibition in partnership with the North Dakota State University Department of Architecture & Landscape Architecture that epitomizes the creative process.

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Cayla Skillin-Brauchle: STAT!

March 22, 2018 - May 31, 2018

STAT! investigates the relationship between our lived experiences and the data and statistics that are used to describe those experiences. Inspired by infographics and visualizations of data, Cayla Skillin-Brauchle explores the aesthetics of data in a time when the dissemination of information is acutely political.

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[re]living

February 3, 2018 - April 28, 2018
New Work by Josh Zeis

Local veteran and artist, Josh Zeis, brings to you his latest series of mixed media sculpture comprised of etched and molded copper, stoneware, and steel.

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Mark Applebaum

February 1, 2018 - June 9, 2018
Picturing Music

“The Mad Scientist of Music,” a modern-day John Cage, and provocative integrator of art forms, Mark Applebaum masterfully crafts intricate visual artworks of signs and symbols that can also be interpreted and played by musicians.

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