Now You See Me . . .

Reflections on Portraits and Abstractions from the Collection

May 24, 2018 - March 23, 2019

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? What role does photography play in transforming individuals into icons? Or, what does it mean when people talk about being a “real” man? Sometimes, artworks ask the viewer self-referential questions. For example, can a “painting” be made on a computer? When you remove craftsmanship, in what other ways can we determine if a work of art is “good”? This year’s permanent collection exhibition looks at portraits and abstractions – their “human-ness” or mechanical nature – and more importantly, the spectrum of questions that one can derive from the work. What questions or responses do you have? We invite you to join the conversation through this exhibition curated by Plains Art Museum Director Andrew Maus and Associate Curator Tasha Kubesh, with assistance from the Museum’s Curatorial Team members and installation staff.   

Plains Art Museum is home to over 4,000 diverse national, regional, and local works of art. Since the Museum’s incorporation in 1975, it has focused primarily on collecting American modern and contemporary art in a variety of styles with special emphasis in regional artwork, Native American work, and Modern Masters. This current exhibition also acknowledges donations to the collection from private collectors and businesses that are making Fargo-Moorhead the cultural center of the Upper Midwest.

  • Martin Wanserski, First Born, 1981, Mixed media, 13 x 3 x 7 in. Museum Purchase: 23th Midwestern Invitational Exhibition Purchase
  • Andy Warhol, Jacqueline Kennedy II, 1965, Screenprint, Gift Donald D. Powell, © 2018 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Fritz Scholder, Kiva Rest, 1977, Oil on canvas, Museum purchase

Other Exhibitions

2019 Scholastic

February 2, 2019 - March 9, 2019
Art & Writing Awards Exhibition

This exhibition celebrates the vision, ingenuity, and talent of North Dakota award-winning teen artists and writers. Since 2015 Plains Art Museum and the Red River Valley Writing Project have partnered to serve as the state affiliate for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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Peter Kelly

January 17, 2019 - March 29, 2019
Talking Head

Talking Head offers a look inside an ambitious, in-progress printmaking project: a variable edition of printed assemblage sculptures by artist Peter Kelly.

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School Spirit

March 1, 2019 - March 30, 2019
Celebrating Youth Art Month

Art connects students to themselves and each other, reaches students in new ways, and transforms the learning environment into a place of discovery.

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North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival

January 7, 2019 - January 24, 2019
A Traveling Exploration of Human Rights and Social Justice

The North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival is a traveling exhibition that welcomes 2D, 3D, and live performance artists to explore human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and additional Protocols and other similar declarations and treaties.

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Layer by Layer

February 14, 2019 - April 21, 2019
Recent Works by Anna Johnson

Local printmaker Anna Johnson works with a variety of media, from watercolor, ink, and collage to various printmaking techniques, to create layers that document her creative process.

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