The Buzz About Escher
By: Amy Beck, marketing and communications manager
We’re all excited about Escher – abuzz, agog, and atwitter.
Saturday, March 4 is opening day of M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion, featuring a large retrospective of the Dutch artist’s work that became pervasive during the last four decades in museums worldwide and throughout pop culture.
During each busy installation week, Woodson Art Museum staff – while scurrying to make myriad preparations – are always filled with anticipation, eager to see how the new exhibition will be received. We can guess, but we’re never certain until it opens.
This time, I’m witnessing excitement percolate online, bubbling up through comments on Facebook and Twitter.
From Watford, United Kingdom, Martin Elsen: Amazing visionary artist – a childhood favourite of mine.
From Chicago, Steven Kropp: I wanna see it!!!!
From Port Edwards, Fran Lankford: This is a must see!
From Chicago, Shay DeGrandis: I’ll have to come back up for this!
From Ironwood, Michigan, Candace Kroells: Jacobs Field trip!!
Other comments may not reveal from where visitors would be traveling, but the excitement is palpable.
Barbara Brucker-Tyler: Absolutely INCREDIBLE ARTIST. THANK YOU FOR SHARING.
Laura Graham LaRocca: I remember having a poster of his in high school.
Joe Finamore: Always loved Escher. So mathematical and yet so artistic.
These comments are coming from farther afield, too – Chicago, the Twin Cities, throughout the state and beyond. That’s thanks to a $20,000 Wisconsin Department of Tourism Joint Effort Marketing grant that enables the Museum to extend the promotional reach farther than we could otherwise afford as a non-profit art museum committed to always-free admission.
The Escher exhibition, drawn from a large private collection from the Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece, has only appeared in a few other U.S. museums. In Rochester, New York, the Memorial Art Gallery, where the Escher exhibition was on view last year, charges $14 for general admission. In Manchester, New Hampshire, the Currier Museum of Art has a $15 admission fee, presented the Escher exhibition in 2014, and increased its admission fee for the Escher exhibition to help offset its higher costs.
In Wausau, at the Woodson Art Museum, it will be free – thanks to the extraordinary foresight-filled commitment made forty-two years ago by the Museum’s founding families. Now, at a time when museums nationwide seek to lower barriers to the visual arts by only occasionally offering free admission or temporarily reducing admission fees for members or for certain exhibitions, the Woodson Art Museum proudly and steadfastly maintains its commitment to always-free admission. We hope people recognize, value, and show their appreciation – first with their feet, walking through the doors repeatedly in the days and weeks ahead.
Mathematicians are ecstatic. Architects are eager. Those who were teens in the 1960s are ready for retro. Visit to see why. Take a deep dive into Escher’s tessellations, architectural fantasies, and explorations of infinity. Or for a lighter take on Escher, float through – for a more playful “splash” – Illustrating Illusions: Drawings by Robin Lauersdorf, the Wisconsin artist who’s long been inspired by Escher’s work.
On opening day, Lauersdorf presents a gallery talk, “Illustrating Illusion à la Escher,” on Saturday, March 4, 1-2 pm. Register now for a two-day drawing workshop for teens and adults, Saturday and Sunday, March 25-26; check the events calendar for details and call the Museum to register.
Woodson Art Museum programs engage and educate visitors of all ages throughout each year, and during the exhibition this spring, those Museum programs incorporate themes making myriad connections – like Escher’s work – to art, math, science, engineering, and architecture. This month’s highlights, in addition to Lauersdorf’s programs, include a Saturday afternoon program on March 18, “Impossible Figures & Visual Spatial Talent,” led by a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire psychology professor. On Thursday, March 23, a midday and evening gallery walk will be led by Nicholas T. Kondoprias, a partner at PAN Art Connections, Inc., which organized M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion. Check out the Museum’s online events calendar and the visiting artist webpage to learn more about upcoming programs.
Find out what the buzz is all about; visit soon and often to see what’s new on view. What about Escher and the Woodson Art Museum inspires you?
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