Current Exhibitions

A City at Work: Dubuque Portraits from 1912

January 18, 2020 - April 20, 2020

A City at Work 2020

A City at Work: Dubuque Portraits from 1912 features rarely-seen images of Dubuque industries as they existed more than a century ago.

As described in the exhibition catalog by co-authors Tim Olson and Mike Gibson of the Loras College Center for Dubuque History: In the spring of 1912, two men arrived in Dubuque and began shooting the photographs that would become the Klauer Collection. For three weeks they traveled throughout the city with a large format camera and a magnesium powder flash lamp, photographing workers in factories, offices, shops, saloons, and even the operating room of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. We don’t know the photographers’ names, though they each posed as customers when needed, leaving us several self-portraits. … When the photographers left Dubuque, they left behind roughly 440 extraordinary photographs documenting a city at work.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the project, in 2012, Dubuque artist and photographer Tim Olson returned to the same locations and photographed the places as they existed a century later. The resulting exhibition, A City at Work: 1912 to 2012, shown at DuMA in partnership with the Loras College Center for Dubuque History, was among the best attended and most popular in the museum’s history.

However, when this exhibition closed in 2013, that wasn’t the end of it. Olson and Gibson continued to research and exhibit the Klauer Collection. With the assistance of several local historians, they completed two books of the collection, one for the 1912 images and one for the 2012 images.

As a result, the Dubuque Museum of Art is once again revisiting these familiar and beloved images from Dubuque’s significant industrial history. This new exhibition focuses on six of the 1912 images along with newly researched biographies of the men and women in the photographs.

Flow: Journey Through the Mississippi River Watershed
Organized by the Dubuque Museum of Art

January 18, 2020 - April 19, 2020

Flow

Flow: Journey Through the Mississippi River Watershed brings together five large-scale installations, by five Midwestern artists, that reveal our connections to water in unexpected ways.

Water is ubiquitous and essential to human life. Frequently we see stories of flooding and water quality featured in local and regional news reports. Arguably, the Mississippi River defines the quality of life across the Tri-State region; this major artery of water along with its massive watershed impacts everything from industry, agriculture, and recreation, to our physical health and well-being.

Removed from the customary grand vista – how rivers and bodies of water have traditionally been represented in painting and art history – the artworks in this exhibition draw inspiration from science and the fields of hydrology, water quality, and water conservation.

Reuter and Joshua Rowan of St. Louis, Missouri mark the locations of watersheds, and where streams have been harmed or buried, with fragile glass cairns, which the artists then photograph and present as ‘waterscapes’. According to Reuter, “Our work celebrates the Mississippi River basin – [covering] 40% of the continental United States – and its water wealth that provides drinking water for 50 million people and irrigation for 90 percent of agricultural exports.”

Clean Water, a site-specific installation by artist Jennifer Bates of Cedar Falls, Iowa, consists of approximately 1,500 recycled water bottles, colored a vibrant blue, that take the form of a section of the Mississippi River that extends through the Greater Dubuque region.

In two separate installations, Susan Knight of Omaha, Nebraska examines the natural and symbolic cross-currents around bodies of water. Working with plastic and paper, Knight’s works mimic the movement of water, itself, and the impacts of industry, agriculture, and recreation.

Upstream, an installation by Anna Metcalfe of Minneapolis, Minnesota, reflects the artist’s decade-long investigation of the waters of the Upper Mississippi and interest in socially-engaged art. Through an ongoing series of conversations in communities up and down the river, Metcalf collects residents’ stories and experiences related to water, which are then incorporated into ceramic tea cups.