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Who are you calling a packrat?

February 28, 2014
Jaclyn Mednicov’s “Current Map,” mixed media, 2013

Jaclyn Mednicov’s “Current Map,” mixed media, 2013

The Northern Illinois University Art Museum will present “Hoarding, Amassing and Excess,” a group exhibition featuring work by 17 contemporary artists.

This show will be held in the Rotunda and South galleries of the NIU Art Museum from Tuesday, March 25, through Friday, May 23, with a public reception scheduled from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3.

This exhibition explores the psychological, sociological and artistic impulses for accumulation, horror vacui, berserk collecting and excessive mark making.

For example, Chicago artist Jaclyn Mednicov uses the remnants of her father’s past as fodder for her artwork.

Mednicov’s father passed away a couple of years ago, leaving her the task of sorting through his seemingly endless hoard of papers, receipts and coupons. In her mixed media work, Mednicov assembles and stitches these personal artifacts together as a means of processing her lineage. In addition to her father’s possessions, she has repurposed her grandmother’s needlepoints in the creation of her artwork. Mednicov says she has come to view herself as “an investigator of lost and lived lives” and as a “curator of clothing, paperwork and tangles of unspoken truths.”

Celeste Rapone’s “Pie Contest,” oil on canvas, 2012

Celeste Rapone’s “Pie Contest,” oil on canvas, 2012

In terms of addressing the concept of excess, Chicago painter Celeste Rapone revels in seductive surface appeal as she creates figures masked by wrapping paper and ribbon. Her compositions celebrate shiny spectacle, but also reference gluttony, as they overflow with the remnants of “store-bought, celebratory trash.”

Other exhibiting artists includes Carrie M. Becker, Matt Davis, Robert Donley, Holly Fisher Sabiston, Mark Fox, Gary John Gresl, Hollis Hammonds, Guy Loraine, Martina Nehrling, J. Thomas Pallas, Robert Reed, Jeff Robinson, Marjan Teeuwen, Michael Velliquette and Kristyn Weaver.

In conjunction with the spring exhibitions, the museum has scheduled programming related to “Hoarding, Amassing and Excess” and “Looting, Hoarding, Collecting … ,” a Museum Studies ART 656 project that will explore historic and current issues of looting and repatriation as they relate to museum collections.

Looting, Hoarding, Collecting … ” will take place in the North and Hallcase galleries from Thursday, April 3, through Friday, May 23.

Tuesday, March 4
Visiting artist Carrie M. Becker, slide talk
Visual Art Building 103, 5 to 6 p.m.

Monday, March 17
Visiting artist Robert Reed, slide talk
Altgeld Hall 315, 7:15 to 8 p.m.

Diane M. Rodgers

Diane M. Rodgers

Tuesday, April 1
“The Social Spaces of Hoarding”
Diane M. Rodgers, associate professor, NIU Department of Sociology
Altgeld Hall 315, 5 to 5:50 p.m.

Saturday, April 5
“Hoarding, Amassing and Excess” gallery talk
NIU Art Museum, 1 to 2 p.m.

Tuesday, April 8
“Looting the Past, Robbing the Future: A Classical Archaeologist’s Perspective”
Sinclair Bell, associate professor, NIU School of Art
Altgeld Hall 315, 4 to 5:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 9
J. Thomas Pallas
Editor-in-chief, the Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation
Artist’s slide talk, Altgeld Hall 315, 5 to 5:50 p.m.

Thursday, April 10
“Psychological Aspects of Hoarding: Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral Factors that Contribute to Excessive Saving and Acquiring”
Arielle P. Rogers, graduate student, NIU Department of Psychology
Altgeld Hall 315, 5 to 5:50 p.m.

Tuesday, April 15
Visiting Artist Celeste Rapone, slide talk
Visual Arts Building 103, 5 to 6 p.m.

Buddha statueWednesday, April 16
“Repatriation and its Ills; A Heretic’s Reflections”
Eric Ledbetter, former director of International Programs and Ethics, American Alliance of Museums; principal, Heritage Management Solutions
Altgeld Hall 315, 5 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 17
“From DeKalb Back to Burma: The Saga of the Looted Buddha“
Catherine Raymond, associate professor of Art History; director, Center for Burma Studies; curator, Burma Art Collection
Altgeld Hall 315, 5 to 5:50 p.m.

Saturday, April 26
Sewing Up Loose Ends
Visiting artist Jaclyn Mednicov stitching in the gallery
NIU Art Museum, 1 to 3 p.m.

Saturday, May 3
Get-On-The-Bus Trip
The House on the Rock
Explore an amassed array of amazing collections at Wisconsin’s No. 1 tourist attraction, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This event is not free; pre-registration required.

Tuesday, May 6
“Hoarding, Amassing and Excess” gallery talk
NIU Art Museum, 4:40 to 5:40 p.m.

“The Rape of Europa” movie posterTuesday, May 13
Film screening and discussion
“The Rape of Europa,” a 2006 documentary on Nazi looting and art repatriation; 117 minutes
Location TBA, 7:15 to 10 p.m.

Thursday, May 15
“The Meanings of Objects”
Poetry recital and reading
Altgeld Hall 315, 7:15 to 8:30 p.m

Located on the west-end first floor of Altgeld Hall, the galleries are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment for group tours.

Exhibitions and lectures are free; donations are appreciated.

Pay parking is available in the visitor’s lot on Carroll Avenue and at metered spots in front of Altgeld Hall. Free parking is available Saturdays and during receptions and visiting artist lectures in the lot northeast of Gilbert and College Drives.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; the Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the Dean’s Circle of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, NIU Foundation.

Additional support for the exhibiting artists came from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Suitcase Export Fund for Visual Art; and The Ragdale Foundation. Additional programming and exhibition support came from The Harvey and Elizabeth Plotnick Fund, the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the NIU School of Art Visiting Artists and Scholars Fund.

Call (815) 753-1936 for more information.