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

FMVA Studio Crawl Preview

August 30, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Each year, Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists (FMVA) presents the Studio Crawl, a popular, free event that gives the community access to professional artists’ studios. The Studio Crawl is an opportunity for people to meet artists, see demonstrations, and purchase their work.

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Creative Educators

October 1, 2018 - December 29, 2018
Recent Work by Plains Art Museum Teaching Artists

Teaching artists are at the heart of Plains Art Museum. These passionate community arts educators lead a variety of programs– from school tours and art experiences to advanced adult classes.

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Cone Pack Invitational

September 6, 2018 - January 12, 2019
A Place at the Table

Cone Pack is a contemporary clay community from the Fargo-Moorhead area. The collective includes some of the area’s most talented and active ceramic artists.

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On Place: Three Views of the Land

September 13, 2018 - January 17, 2019
by Wayne Gudmundson, Drake Hokanson, Stuart Klipper

On Place exhibits the work of three of the Midwest’s most experienced photographers culminating in 45 images from their excursions along the region’s back roads, broad landscape, rivers, and small towns.

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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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