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Release: Aug. 27, 1999

'Art is Life/Life is Art: The Graphic Work of Dieter Roth' opens Sept. 11 at UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will exhibit "Art is Life/ Life is Art: The Graphic Work of Dieter Roth," a selection of artists' books, prints, and drawings, Sept. 11 through Nov. 7.

The Museum of Art will celebrate the opening of "Art is Life/Life is Art" and other fall exhibitions with a reception, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12 in the museum.

Two lectures will be presented in connection with the exhibition. As part of the museum's opening reception Sept. 12, Buzz Spector, a visiting artist in the printmaking area of the UI School of Art and Art History, will offer a gallery tour of the exhibition and speak on "The Body and the Archive" at 1 p.m. Kathleen Edwards, curator of the exhibition and the Museum of Art curator of prints and drawings, will speak on Roth for one of the museum's weekly Perspectives programs at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Born in Hannover, Germany in 1930, Roth was a trained draftsman and an expert printmaker. However, his reclusive lifestyle and his resistance to tradition kept him largely outside of mainstream artistic activity. His use of vulgar language and playful sexuality, compounded by the use of unstable and biodegradable materials, made much of his art impossible to institutionalize during his lifetime.

Despite these factors, Roth is regarded by many to be one of the century's most influential artists. Beginning with experimentation in graphic design and visual poetry, Roth developed the book as an optical geometric construction, and later explored historical notions of the archive and the diary. Influenced by the 20th-century artist movements of constructivism, surrealism, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and also by philosophy and literature, Roth is recognized as the first artist to consider the book within a process uniting form and content fully.

Since his death in 1998, Roth has received much international attention for his work. Largely inaccessible during the life of the reclusive artist, the works in the current exhibition have been brought together through the loan of many pieces from the collection of Dr. Ira G. Wool and from UI Libraries. It is the first museum exhibition of the artist's work organized in the United States since 1984.

An exhibition catalog containing essays by Kathleen Edwards and by Buzz Spector may be purchased at the museum.

Spector's lecture Sept. 12 at the Museum of Art is sponsored by the UI Center for the Book.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of the museum.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at