Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master on View through February 24

Wausau, Wisconsin: An exhibition of artwork by the world-renowned father of the Op Art movement, Victor Vasarely, opened at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum on Saturday, December 1. Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master, an exhibition from the collection of Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, comprises more than 150 serigraphs, lithographs, and gouache paintings – designed to engage the mind and eye.

Vasarely’s bold monochromatic and vividly colorful, geometric artworks often seem to swell, recede, undulate, and pulsate. To create this optical trickery – illusions of mass and motion that appear to emanate from his two-dimensional artwork – Vasarely experimented with color, background, geometric combinations, and materials as he sought contrast, distorted grids, and played with perspective.

Vasarely’s innovative use of optical illusions became popular in the 1960s and 70s, when Op Art extended into everyday life via design, advertisements, and architecture. With an “art for all” motto, he advocated for democratizing art by producing multiples and screen-prints and by integrating art into architecture and public spaces. His series of “architectural integrations” included his “Kinetic Wall” at the 1968 Winter Olympics’ speed circuit in Grenoble, France.

With a lasting impact on print, poster, and fabric design, Vasarely’s artwork exploring optical illusions and spatial relationships is a source of inspiration for those interested in art, computer programming, architecture, and beyond.

This One Source Traveling Exhibition was organized by PAN Art Connections, Inc., and will remain on view at the Woodson Art Museum through February 24, 2019.

Hands-on Programs for All Ages Make Exhibition Connections
Museum programs for all ages will bring to life themes, artistic styles, and techniques from “Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master” and the Museum’s collection exhibitions. Op Art infused games and puzzles will be available in the galleries this winter. In Art Park – the Museum’s recently re-imagined, interactive family gallery – all ages explore kaleidoscopes, gears, and puzzles. Also, seek the art of Victor Vasarely’s optical-illusion gems via the Museum’s free Activity Guide, designed for use by all ages, in the galleries and at home.

Op Art Program Highlights
Inspired by artwork on view, participants will design and make their own notecards, illustrations, and more during Art 101: Op Art Exploration programs on Thursday, December 6, 5:30-7 p.m., and Wednesday, December 19, 12:15-1 p.m.

During Art 101: Op Art Survey on Thursday, January 3, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Wednesday, January 16, 12:15-1 p.m., explore the rise and fall of the Op Art movement of the 1960s and 70s with Museum educator Catie Anderson.

During an Illusion Quilts Workshop on Saturday, January 12, 1-4 p.m., Pat Gaska, author of Visual Illusion Quilts, guides adult participants through patterns that create dimension and depth in quilts and the construction of a small block that may be the starting point for your next work of art. Fee: $35 for members; $50 for nonmembers. Supply list shared upon registration; call 715-845-7010 to register.

See Team USA Snow Sculptors at work creating Cool Cube Illusion, Saturday and Sunday, January 19-20, Noon-5 p.m.

Learn more about visual perception – and interactions between the eye and mind – during programs presented by neuro-science and vision researchers in January and February.

  • Seeing & Not Seeing: Investigating the Foundations of Perception, Saturday, January 26, 1-2 p.m. Why do we often perceive things that don’t actually exist, while sometimes failing to perceive what is plainly in sight? Join Emily J. Ward, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor and director of the Visual Cognition Laboratory as she discusses the cognitive science of visual perception.
  • Art 101: Understanding the Art of Vision, Thursday, February 7, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Parts of the brain that help us see objects and connect them to what we believe them to be are referred to collectively as the visual brain. Increased visual multitasking and stress from digital technology are changing our visual brains, impacting our ability to interpret visual experiences such as optical illusion. Shiela Reaves, professor and director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the UW-Madison McPherson Eye Research Institute, shares her research surrounding the intersections of neuroscience and the visual brain.

Art Beyond Sight, on Saturday, February 9, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, is designed for individuals with low vision or blindness. Participants join Museum educators for a multisensory exploration of the galleries followed by hands-on art making inspired by Vasarely. Call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During a family workshop, Mixed-Media Op Art Wall Sculpture, Saturday, February 16, 1-3 p.m., each family works together, using geometric shapes and colors and designing and applying layers to create a low-relief wall sculpture. Fee: $5 per family. Call 715-845-7010 to register.

Additional Program Highlights
During Art Park Open Studio on the first Saturday of each month, 1-3 p.m., all ages drop in for hands-on art making inspired by artwork on view in the galleries.

  • SPARK! programs for individuals with memory loss and an accompanying friend or family member on the second Thursday of each month, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, offer social interaction in the galleries, followed by a hands-on art activity; call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.
  • During Toddler Tuesdays on the third Tuesday of each month, 10:30 a.m.-Noon, little ones, 18 months-4 years, and accompanying adults drop in to sample art making and interactive play in Art Park.
  • Art Babies, Art Time for Tots, Art 4 You, and Art Kids programs offered during the last week of January and February; check the online events calendar and call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

For details about these and other programs, check the online events calendar at

For more information, visit, e-mail the Museum at, call 715-845-7010, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

BMO Harris Bank is the presenting sponsor of “Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master.” Educational support comes from Peter and Nancy Hessert. Exhibitions and programs are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Marketing supported in part by City of Wausau Room Tax funds.

Woodson Art Museum Hours
Tues–Fri 9am–4pm
First Thurs of each month (except Sept. 6, 2018) 9am–7:30pm
Thursdays during Birds in Art 9am–7:30pm
Sat–Sun Noon–5pm
Closed Mon & holidays, including New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas

Admission: Always Free Admission
Phone: 715.845.7010
Location: 700 N. 12th Street (Franklin & 12th Streets), Wausau, Wisconsin 54403-5007

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