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

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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