Past Exhibits

Jackson Pollock: Mural
  July 12, 2014 – April 5, 2015
Jackson Pollock: Mural
mural after conservation web

It is unusual for an exhibition to feature a single work of art. An artwork that deserves this special status is Jackson Pollock’s famous large scale painting, Mural. The painting initially commissioned as a mural, thus the name, was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim in 1943, and donated to the University of Iowa in the early 1950s. 

Pollock’s iconic painting is considered to have opened the door to Abstract Expressionism, the first American art movement that garnered international attention, and can be said to have helped shift the attention of the art world from Europe to America. 

In addition to the importance of the artwork, Pollock and Guggenheim were larger than life characters. Guggenheim’s father perished on the Titanic, leaving Peggy with a fortune. Fascinated with artists and art she set out to build a collection with advice along the way by some of the most storied figures in art history, Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and others. In addition to collecting, Peggy founded and operated two contemporary art galleries first in London and then in New York City.

Guggenheim signed Pollock, whom she was initially unsure of, to her New York City gallery, Art of This Century, and provided him with a monthly stipend against sales, even lending Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner, funds to purchase a modest house on Long Island with an adjacent barn in which he could work.

While Guggenheim championed many cutting edge artists of her time, Pollock is the most famous, crossing over from the art world into popular culture when he was featured in Life magazine in the 1949. While Pollock died in an automobile accident in 1956, his popular culture celebrity has continued, and added to with a recent mainstream movie on his life titled Pollock.

Pollock’s wife, the artist Lee Krasner who placed her own career on hold to promote Pollock and take care of him (he struggled with alcoholism), is now also recognized as an important artist. While both Jackson and Lee suffered financially during Jackson’s lifetime, after his death Lee managed the estate and created and left the Pollock/Krasner Foundation, with over $20,000,000 to help struggling and under-recognized artists. 

The Jackson Pollock Mural is part of the University of Iowa Art Museum’s Legacies for Iowa Collections Sharing Project. As part of the Sharing Project the University does not charge a rental fee for the loan of Mural. But due to the extra costs required by increased security and insurance, as well as facility modifications, shipping and additional expertise, the Art Center Association of Sioux City had to raise $200,000 to make the project possible. The Association accomplished this goal through its Blockbuster Partners, a group of individuals, businesses and foundations whose mission is to underwrite and promote major exhibitions and acquisitions of art for the Art Center’s Permanent Collection.

uima legacies sm
Jackson Pollock's Mural, considered to be the
most important modern American artwork ever made.

Jackson Pollock (American, 1912 – 1956), Mural, 1943. Oil and casein on canvas, 95-5/8" x 237-3/4". Gift of Peggy Guggenheim, 1959.6, University of Iowa Museum of Art. Reproduced with the permission of The University of Iowa.

  February 14, 2015 - April 5, 2015 
Youth Art Month Exhibition

godzillaThis annual exhibition features works by Siouxland students from the tri-state area. Terri McGaffin, chair of the art department at Morningside College, served as the juror and made selections from hundreds of submissions. This year’s exhibition presents work by elementary school students.

This exhibition has been underwritten in part by the Aalfs Family Foundation and Pinnacle Bank.


Elijah Self, Godzilla, mixed media
Teacher – Jim Bisenius, Sergeant Bluff-Luton Elementary
Second Place – Third Grade
Mid-Century Mix: Art from the 1950s
  October 11, 2014 – February 1, 2015
Mid-Century Mix
Art from the 1950s


Jackson Pollock was at the forefront of a major shift in thinking about art during the 1940s, leading to many artists across the country engaging in more experimental methods of creating paintings. He remarked in 1950, "The modern artist is living in a mechanical age and we have a mechanical means of representing objects in nature such as the camera and photograph. The modern artist, it seems to me, is working and expressing an inner world – in other words – expressing the energy, the motion and the other inner forces...the modern artist is working with space and time, and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating."

Culled from the Art Center’s Permanent Collection, the artworks in this exhibition were created during the 1950s. Artists in the exhibition represent styles and ideas that developed during this time, as well as artists who looked back to earlier styles such as Cubism and Surrealism.

W. Dean Warnholtz, Moonflowers, 1959, oil on canvas,
40 x 40 inches. Purchase Award, 24th Annual May Show
with funds provided by Younkers-Davidson and
Younkers-Martin; 961.04
Wall Pictures: Selections from the Permanent Collection
  June 14 – September 28, 2014
Wall Pictures
Selections from the Permanent Collection

primary impulses

As the Sioux City Art Center presents Jackson Pollock’s monumental painting, Mural, it goes into the vault to find examples of other artists who dared to go big. Throughout the 1940s, Pollock explored new techniques for applying paint to canvas, eventually reaching the point at which he no longer used an easel to support his painting as he worked. He wrote in 1947, "I believe the easel picture to be a dying form, and the tendency of modern feeling is towards the wall picture or mural."

The artworks selected for this exhibition, while not as massive as Mural, still demonstrate that size can matter when it comes to visual impact.


Nan Wilson, Primary Impulses, 1993, oil and earth on canvas, 78 x 144 inches
Sioux City Art Center Permanent Collection; 2012.24
Purchased by the Sioux City Art Center from the artist with donated funds: Principal Donor--Juliette Everist; Donors--Jeff Baldus, Gail & Jack Bernstein, Nancy Giles, Tom & Henrietta Shuminsky, and Mary & John Van Dyke; and additional contributions from Regis Garvey, Susan Hatfield, Alan & Terri McGaffin, and Shannon Sargent


The Sioux City Art Center Collection: 1938
  May 10 – September 14, 2014
The Sioux City Art Center Collection

george aldrichAs the Art Center looks back at its 100 years of history, this exhibition presents many of the artworks that formed the foundation of the permanent collection when the Art Center opened the doors to its first permanent location in 1938. Most of these artworks date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and include both American and European artists.



George Ames Aldrich, The Mill Pond, 1919, oil on canvas, 29.5 x 39.5 inches
Gift of the Sioux City Society of Fine Arts in celebration of the opening of the WPA Art Center; 938.03
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All exhibitions and programs are supported in part by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Art Center Association of Sioux City; and the City of Sioux City.
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