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Release: Aug. 9, 2002

Retrospective exhibition of works by Hans Breder at the UI Museum of Art

“Enacting the Liminal: Intermedia/Works 1964-2002,” a retrospective exhibition of more than 70 works by Hans Breder, F. Wendell Miller distinguished professor emeritus of art at the University of Iowa, will be on view at the UI Museum of Art Aug. 24-Oct. 20.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, there will be a reception for the artist at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 in the museum. David Klemm of the UI School of Religion will speak on “Hermeneutics and Art: Interpreting Divine Presence and Absence in the Work of Hans Breder” at 3 p.m. The lecture and reception are free to the public.

Intermedia is an interdisciplinary art form that explores connections among a variety of disciplines including visual art, music, literature, religion, dance, physics, philosophy, sociology and psychology. These explorations result in combinations of multimedia installations, live performances, electronic technologies including film, video and computers, and traditional art forms.

Breder founded the UI Intermedia Program in 1968, making it the first university program to grant the Master of Fine Arts degree in Intermedia art. Breder directed the program for three decades, until his retirement in 2000.

Among the 1970s avant-garde talents in residence in the UI Intermedia Program were noted artists Nam Jun Paik, Vito Acconci, Scott Burton, Karen Finley and Robert Wilson. Breder's students have included the renowned artists Charles Ray and Ana Mendieta.

Breder has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, photography and electronic technology. In all of these works, his key concern has been a state of consciousness that he calls the “liminal,” a term derived from the Latin word “limen” meaning “threshold.” Its use is most familiar in the word subliminal, meaning just below the threshold of consciousness. Classic examples of liminal states are the spiritual condition of wholeness reached through meditation and the adolescent who is no longer a child but not yet an adult.

Breder explores the concept of the threshold through the use of ritual and metaphor. His rituals consist of filming and photographing models in the studio or in what he refers to as “magic spots” in nature, and then recreating those experiences, or encounters with the liminal, through private or public performances. His metaphors allude to the way into and passage through a threshold. These metaphors include mirrors, doorways, windows, circles, bones, reflections, repetition, water and skin. Breder believes that it is through these rituals and metaphors that, in a flash of insight, something previously unknown becomes known and vice versa.

Breder has exhibited in three Whitney Museum of American Art Biennials (1987, 1989, 1991), the Kitchen and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the MIT List Visual Art Center, and in museums and galleries around the world. He is represented by Mitchell Algus in New York and Hachmeister Galerie in Muenster, Germany.

Kathleen A. Edwards, curator of prints, drawings, photographs and new media at the UIMA, organized “Enacting the Liminal.” A catalogue with an essay by the art critic Donald Kuspit was published by Hachmeister Verlag, Muenster, Germany, on the occasion of the exhibition.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

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