By March 4, the Woodson Art Museum’s special exhibition galleries will include aspects of a college dorm room. No, empty pizza boxes won’t be stacked in the corner, nor will you find a well-designed pyramid of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, lofted beds, a lava lamp, or a beanbag chair.
However, gallery walls will feature the art of acclaimed Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Whether or not you’re an art lover, you’ve probably heard the name M.C. Escher. Filled with visual puzzles blending imagination with reality, Escher’s artwork is prevalent in pop-culture history. A big reason why M.C. Escher is in the collective memory and subconscious of many baby boomers and younger generations is that starting in the late 1960s, Escher’s work became a popular choice for dorm-room posters.
As my college roommate can attest, my side of the dorm room was covered in posters: Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock, John Belushi in Animal House, and a scantily clad supermodel on a tropical beach. Although I always loved art, it was never my style to hang a poster of a favorite artwork. Topics of music, film, and male curiosity were my preferred choices.
Fortunately, I have the opportunity to redeem myself. I will be one of the Museum staff assisting with the installation of M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion and will hang dozens of Escher’s original woodcuts, lithographs, mezzotints, and drawings. That quantity – if in poster form – would fulfill the dorm-room needs of a college career spanning three bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees, and a PhD. It will be fun to examine each artwork to gain new perspectives, because these artworks feature no shortage of new perspectives to be gained.
While Escher might challenge us to question what is real, one thing will be certain: the eating of Ramen noodles is prohibited in the galleries.
*M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion will be on view March 4 through May 28.