Friday, April 4, 2014

Country Music and the Rise of Modern Conservatism

As the Fountain Gallery's exhibition Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music by Henry Horenstein continues, we are welcoming students, professors, artists, musicians and the community to join in. We invited Purdue's Assistant Professor of History, Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell to give a lecture from a historical point of view.  After discussing the exhibition with her, Kathryn thought a discussion on country music and the rise of modern conservatism would be a great fit.

On April 1st, Kathryn gave her talk to a no-"Fools," standing room only crowd of students and community members.  She started by clarifying the two perspectives country musicians had on the south in the 70s-80s. Some musicians expressed the attitude that the south was a difficult place with a shameful past, while others chose to take pride in a growing new south, one filled with the hard-working everyday people who enjoyed a simple, traditional lifestyle.  The latter approach spurned the liberal leanings associated with northern cities.  It became fertile ground that political figures such as Richard Nixon used to initiate the rise of the Republican Party in the south, previously a strongly Democratic region. 

The relationship between popular culture and politics is something that can be seen today.  Not only do political issues gain popularity through being paired with pop culture icons, but in the case of country music, the interest generated by its political ties helped country music gain a nationwide following.

Brownell's research and teaching examine twentieth-century United States political history with a focus on the relationships between media, politics, and popular culture.  Her forthcoming book, Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life (University of North Carolina Press), explores the institutionalization of Hollywood in American politics.  This book traces the key personal relationships, institutions, and government policies that established the foundation for a celebrity political culture and made entertainment a central feature of American politics. 

To read more about Brownell and this lecture, take a look at the Journal and Courier article about her talk here.

Honky Tonk - Art, Music and Fun with Jeris Eikenberry on Piano

We are excited about our current exhibition at the Fountain Gallery. Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music by Henry Horenstein is a collection of photographs taken between 1968 and 2010 that documents the changing world of country music and its fans. Shot in bars, music ranches, and famous venues like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Horenstein not only shows us the performers on stage, but also the dedication and love the fans have for the performers and the music. Horenstein began this project at a time when he saw the world of country music changing and wanted to capture it as it was before it turned into the big business that it is today.

On March 21st, Fountain Gallery had a reception during Lafayette Third Friday and invited piano player Jeris Eikenberry to play Honky Tonk/Ragtime music.  The music created a great atmosphere and tied in nicely with Henry Horenstein's photos.  Jeris is quite the musician and entertainer and helped make the evening one to remember.

This is one of 3 events being presented during the Honky Tonk exhibition. Please be sure to follow us @PurdueUniversityGalleries on Facebook and @PurdueGalleries on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on our exhibitions/events both in the on campus galleries and in the downtown Fountain Gallery.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review of Emily Trick's "Imagined, Desired, and the Factual"

The Fountain Gallery received a review in the Lafayette Journal and Courier last week.  It's a great article about Emily Trick's sculptural work (on display through this Saturday) and what it means not only to the individual visitor but to the Greater Lafayette community.  The Galleries at Purdue pride themselves in bringing a combination of traditional, innovative and contemporary artists for the student body, faculty and Greater Lafayette community.  Click here to read the article.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

David Driesbach at Ringel Gallery

Traffic lights,
Top Hats,
and Tubas

are props in the theatre of David Driesbach's imagination.  His colorful and varied imagery populates a landscape of art historical references and self-portraiture.  This 50-year retrospective includes original intaglios and lithographs, along with printing plates and working proofs, providing access to Driesbach's complete creative process. 

David Driesbach, Northern Illinois University Presidential Research Professor Emeritus, is internationally recognized for his unique abilities to transform printmaking media into his own vehicle for expression. His style reflects an autobiographical reality, which appears as a dream-like narrative touched with symbolism and peopled with theatrical characters, musicians, family members and even the artist himself, his top hat signifying that he is acting as master of ceremonies.

Driesbach says, “I know that I am telling stories in my prints…sometimes I don’t know what the story is until the print is done. I work in an additive manner [meaning that new characters and symbols are added as the print develops]”. This imaginative approach to the development of symbolic narratives often simultaneously incorporates the use of multiple printmaking techniques within one composition.

From 5:30 - 7 pm on Thursday, February 20 (postponed from an earlier date), Purdue Galleries will host an opening reception for the Moonlight Cocktails are the Things exhibition in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center. Peter Olson, Assistant Director of the Northern Illinois University Art Museum and a former student of Driesbach, will present a gallery talk on the artist and his works during the reception.

This exhibit is up now through February 22, 2014.

See Facebook event for more details at

The exhibition was co-organized by the Northern Illinois University Art Museum and the NIU Graduate Museum Studies Program.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Purdue Galleries now on Instagram

Purdue Galleries is now on Instagram!
Follow us @purduegalleries to see sneak peaks, current shows and behind the scenes shots of Fountain, Ringel and Rueff Galleries.

See you there!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Emily Trick at Fountain Gallery

We are in full swing at Purdue Galleries and are eager to share our new exhibitions with you.  Currently up at the Fountain Gallery, is the work of Emily Trick titled “Imagined, Desired, and the Factual”. Trick was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2013 and completed this work in part through The Jentel Residency Program and the National Artist Teacher Fellowship Program.

Emily Trick’s sculpture is mostly figurative but the process in which they are created is loose and less controlled, allowing direct gestural manipulations that break the figure into fragmented surfaces held together more by an idea of the figure rather than by its direct representation. The everyday qualities of the materials turn the figure into something found or invented. Her hope is that each individual piece can be transformed into a “site,” or a point of social tension, that is as much private as it is collective and shared- an individual expression of common concerns and experiences.

When grouped together, the emphasis is as much on the pieces’ individual presence or absence as well as on their interaction. This interaction dissolves the figurative specificity of each of the pieces into an abstracted space reminiscent of a forest, or, conversely, a raw field of undigested materials engulfing the visitor in the sources of its formation; a space filled with tension between imagined, desired, and the factual.

On Jan. 17th Emily Trick gave an artist talk and it was interesting to hear how her work has developed over the years.  In particular she discussed a lot of her artist inspirations (Michelangelo/Giacometti/etc.) and how important artist residencies have become in her process.  Trick’s experiences at The Jentel Residency Program, The Vermont Studio Center and Anderson Ranch became an opportunity for reflection, inquiry and exploration in her work which led her to the sculptural work she is making today.

“Imagined, Desired, and the Factual” will be up until Feb 22nd, 2014.  

visit to see her other work 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gallery naming consideration

As has been mentioned previously, Purdue Galleries is in the process of preparing for a new gallery in downtown Lafayette, Indiana.  While offering a replacement for a previous space on campus that was recently converted to a visitor information center, this new gallery location - off campus, across the river in downtown Lafayette - provides an opportunity for a fresh take on the traditional gallery concept and options for Purdue Galleries to better connect with a wider range of the regional population.

Several potential names have been offered for consideration, including Purdue Galleries Courthouse Square - Purdue Galleries on Main - East Side Gallery - but the one we keep coming back to is "The Other Side Gallery."

The name refers not just to the gallery being physically across the river - on the other side from West Lafayette and campus - but that it will attempt to host displays of art in a variety of forms (visual and performance) that represent the "other sides" of contemporary art.  It will also engage its audience.  We have all been to galleries that allow visitors to walk around gazing at art.  But this gallery will do things that more actively engage the visitor - engage them to learn, to seek out, to create and participate, to think, and to reflect.  In this sense "The Other Side" can refer to the other side of the art patron experience.  

What do you think of the name?  And how can the art and/or displays in this new gallery engage the viewer?  We have ideas, but we'd love to hear your thoughts as well...

You can comment here or send your comments and suggestions to Purdue Galleries director Craig Martin at