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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 4, 2006

Sample of images on display throughout series. Click for high-resolution version.
Photograph by Caleb, Iowa County Photograph by Gerald Rowles, Polk County

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863)

Lion Devouring a Horse, 1844 

Lithograph on chine collé

Gift of the Friends of the Museum of Art 1978.17

Peter Moran (American, 1841-1914)

Cows Fording a River, c. 1885


Anonymous gift given in fond memory

by friends of J. Thomas Lee 1997.184

Exhibitions, Lectures, Films Explore Relationships Between Humans, Animals

Animals are central to the agricultural state of Iowa and play several roles in our lives. As a way to reflect on the relations between humans and animals, the Obermann Animal Studies Group at the University of Iowa has organized a series of exhibitions, lectures and films called "Animals/Arts/Iowa" that begins Oct. 13 and continues through March 2007.

The group, which began as the 2005 Obermann Interdisciplinary Studies Semester, is the first organized entrée by the UI into the emerging field of animal studies, a discipline that integrates life scientists, social scientists, artists, and humanities scholars. Teresa Mangum, an associate professor of English in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), co-directs the group along with Jane Desmond, associate professor of American Studies (also in CLAS) and associate dean of International Programs.

"Together, members of this interdisciplinary research group are exploring the crucial place of animals in every corner of our world and our imaginations," Mangum said.

The series begins with an "Animals Among Us" photography exhibition that opens at the Iowa Children's Museum in Coral Ridge Mall Oct. 13 and at the UI's Old Capitol Museum Oct. 14. The Obermann Group invited Iowans to submit entries in a photography competition. The winning images of animals, and reflections by the artists regarding the animals' significance, may be viewed at these simultaneous exhibitions. The children's division exhibit will be shown from Oct. 14 to March 31 as part of a larger "Wild about Animals!" exhibit at the Iowa Children's Museum, with an opening event from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13. The adult division of the same exhibit will be on display at the Old Capitol Museum from Oct. 14 to Jan. 14, with an opening event from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.

After March, the "Animals Among Us," exhibition will travel to various locations around the state of Iowa.

Other upcoming events in the series include:

-- The UI Museum of Art will present "Animal Expressions: International Perspectives from the Permanent Collection of the UI Museum of Art," on view in the Hoover-Paul gallery from Oct. 21 to Dec. 31. This exhibition, which was curated by the Obermann Animal Studies Group, features more than 50 prints, drawings, lithographs and photographs depicting animals and human-animal relationships. Artists include William Hogarth, anonymous Native Americans, George Grosz, March Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Ruth Thorne-Thomsen. This exhibit invites viewers to ponder artists' exploration of the many, sometimes disturbing, always evocative ways humans interact with animals by focusing on seven themes: animal companions, working animals, animals and human combat, animal aggression, animals as spectacle, taxonomy, and metaphors and monsters.

-- In association with the "Animal Expression" exhibit, Robert Rosenblum, professor of Modern European Art at New York University and curator of the Guggenheim Museum, will give a lecture titled "From Stubbs to Delacroix: Animal Liberation in Romantic Art." The talk begins at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 in the auditorium of the new Art Building West, and a reception will follow in the Willis Atrium of the UI Museum of Art. Both events are free and open to the public.

-- The Institute for Cinema and Culture's "Animal Cinema" fall series, which is free and open to public, will be shown at 7 p.m. every Thursday through Dec. 7 in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building. On Oct. 19, the series will feature experimental filmmaker Cecilia Condit from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee as guest curator of an experimental video collection, "Of a Feather, 1968-2005."

In addition to Desmond and Mangum, members of the Obermann Animal Studies Group include Kim Marra, associate professor of theatre studies and American studies, CLAS; Mary Trachsel, associate professor of rhetoric, CLAS; Pamela Trimpe, director of the Pentacrest Museums; and Ed Wasserman, Stuit Professor of Experimental Psychology, CLAS.

Sponsors of the Animals/Arts/Iowa series include the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Institute for Cinema and Culture, 18th-19th Century Interdisciplinary Colloquium, International Programs, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UI Museum of Art, the School of Art and Art History, the UI Office of the President's Year of Public Engagement Award, the UI Office of the Vice President for Research, Presentations, Old Capitol Museum, and Iowa Children's Museum.

The mission of the Obermann Center is to provide an environment and resources conducive to reflection and writing and to the exchange of ideas. Scholars from a broad range of disciplines and institutions interact with one another and with the public to create and disseminate new knowledge and to establish a diverse and vibrant intellectual community.

For additional information and programming details, see To learn more about any of the events listed above, contact Teresa Mangum at

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012,; Program: Teresa Magnum,; Writer: Jennifer New