Stanley Visual Classroom

Third Floor, Iowa Memorial Union
125 North Madison St., Iowa City

In accordance with the UI’s ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of our campus community, the Stanley Visual Classroom will close on Sunday, March 15 and remain closed until normal campus operations resume.

For 2020, the Stanley Visual Classroom (SVC) will feature three exhibitions, each of which is a culmination of the museum’s ongoing collaborations with the broader University community.  Follow Her Lead will continue at the SVC with new works and will be joined by Fluidity and 20/20.

Follow Her Lead, curated by Dr. Cory Gundlach and opened in fall 2019, highlights the strength of our collection of African and Diaspora art through an exploration of women, motherhood, fashion, and leadership across times and cultures. Mumenya, a woman’s Bwami diadem, is one of the new pieces soon to be on display. An example of the small caps worn by female leaders among the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Lega people, Mumenya, adorned in colorful buttons, provides the University community a new and unique perspective for teaching and learning.

Fluidity draws upon the rich archival holdings of the University of Iowa as well as the Stanley Museum of Art collection. With fresh water becoming scarce through contamination and climate change, Fluidity explores how water has moved us and the ways in which we have attempted to move water.  Through pieces like Hiroshige Ando’s Ishiyana Temple in Lake Biwa in Omi Province, the exhibition presents artist approaches to the power and peril of water in motion.  Associate Curator Vero Rose Smith designed the exhibit to coincide with the 100th anniversary of IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering, a global leader in fluids-related research and education.  In addition, the exhibition is a nod to Hancher’s The Big Splash! programming and the University of Iowa Theme Semester, Flow Together, which explores and celebrates water as fundamental to life. 

The third exhibit on view at the SVC will be 20/20, a group of works of intense patterns and optical illusions. Drawn from different times, cultures, and functions, these pieces produce the same dizzying effect. Coined by Jeffrey Steele in the October 23, 1964 issue of TIME magazine, Op Art (Optical Art) is known for clashing colors and vibrating geometric contrasts. Paintings and prints associated with Op Art are carefully calibrated according to the emerging science of optics and borrow the bright hues of Pop Art. Pieces such as the geometric paintings and prints of Tadasky and the subtly shifting illusions of Samia Halaby respond to the messy, emotional works of Abstract Expressionism. This exhibition is co-curated by Manager of Design, Preparation & Installation Steven Erickson and Associate Curator Smith.