Learn about our past exhibitions below. For more information, please contact us.

Debbie Ma’s abstract paintings are marked by their sense of order, balance, and a surface dynamism informed by her studies in graphic designand inspired by a cross-section of modern masters. Her use of white and its variants evoke ancient walls and sculptures, Italian frescoes, as well as paintings by American Minimalist Robert Ryman and Spanish artist Miquel Barceló. Ma’s choice of materials, such as her signature medium of marble dust, lends her paintings a reflective quality, sculptural effect, and, as in Antoni Tàpies’s later works, a sense of “meditative emptiness.” Ma notes how “Working with stone, albeit in powder form, demands the same physicality as carving. I always describe my paintings as two-dimensional sculptures because a lot of effort is made to create volume and thickness.”

Ma speaks many languages and filters them into her work, which is both varied and consistent, preoccupied as she is with materials and their surprising effects. There are Cy Twombly-like marks, calligraphic jottings, and Jackson Pollock–evoking gestures and layering. She says she is fascinated with grids (but not too tightly administered) and can’t resist patterning and surface textures. Her use of geometry suggests how we view and measure what we see.

Surprisingly, having long worked mostly in monochrome, Ma has recently been experimenting with colors in her works, many with a sculptural impasto appearance where light, texture, and complimentary tones on paper produce an unexpected degree of spontaneity. 

Debbie Ma gave a public artist talk on October 12, 2023; watch the conversation here. This exhibition and event were both made possible by Ball State University's Arts Alive Series, presented by the College of Fine Arts.

Image: Debbie Ma, American (born 1957), Social Fabric, 2019, marble dust on canvas, 72 x 90 in. (182 x 328 cm) © Debbie Ma. 

Fibers of Being explores the layered meanings of textiles translocated from Asia to the United States as they cross geographical, cultural, and temporal boundaries. Clothing and accessories convey the personal identities, fashion sense, and social status of their original wearers and transmit the tastes of people who selected them from shops in cities around the world. Because many textiles are portable and adaptable, American tourists and missionaries purchased them as souvenirs to serve as tangible objects around which to center stories of travel with friends back home. 

Works in the exhibition include a silk embroidered woman’s coat, collar, paired apron, and rank badge from China; remnants of Buddhist priests’ robes and a woman’s coat known as an uchikake from Japan; cotton batik sarongs and headwraps from Java; painted textiles created in Bali that feature characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana; a silk and gauze Chinese dragon robe; and a Hmong American quilted applique story cloth. 

Several textiles in the show are new discoveries from storage while others have remained unseen since their initial acquisition by the museum in 1930s–1980s. New research reidentifies and contextualizes these objects while highlighting the roles of women as makers and wearers. Many works include evidence of use through physical traces, such as fraying, loose threads, and incomplete repairs. By introducing visitors to these previously invisible works, this show aims to encourage support for their conservation and preservation. 

This exhibition and related events were made possible by the Sursa Art Exhibitions and Visiting Performers Program and the Friends of the David Owsley Museum of Art.

image: Woman’s Informal Coat, 1850–1900, blue satin ground embroidered with satin, seed, and couching stitches with multicolored silk floss, China, Qing dynasty (1644–1912), Gift of Daniel Jarrett Hathaway, 1937.500.095. 

This exhibition is the first public presentation of an outstanding Midwestern collection amassed over four decades by printmakers and educators David and Sarojini Johnson. The display features relief and intaglio prints created by more than 25 artist printmakers represented in the Johnsons’ collection, including works by Francisco Goya, Lea Grundig, Stanley William Hayter, Mauricio Lasansky, and Sue Coe. The selection emphasizes the contributions of German Expressionist and Midwestern artists, with concentrations of art condemned by the Nazis as degenerate (entartete Kunst) and the legacy of printmaking at Atelier 17. These works are juxtaposed with several prints from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s collection that incorporate items acquired for the museum with David Johnson’s advice. A catalogue with essays by the collectors and contemporary Midwestern printmakers examines the democratic foundation of print collecting and the Johnsons’ desire to acquire works on paper of historical significance, quality, and social impact. 

Watch a conversation with visiting artists and the Johnsons from March 23, 2023.

Educators: download an education packet related to this exhibition here.

Image: Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945). The Young Couple (Junges Paar), 1904, soft-ground etching, plate: 11 3/4 x 12 9/16 in., The David and Sarojini Johnson Print Collection. © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A selection of recent loans and acquisitions continues the museum’s mission to cultivate lifelong learning through an engaging collection of original works of art. Several donations, purchases, loans, and promised gifts illustrate major modernist movements and raise awareness about climate change, which the World Health Organization considers the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.  

The exhibition features three major paintings: a study of laborers harvesting sugar cane by American Regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, a monumental ‘inscape’ or interior psychological landscape by Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta, and contemporary artist Diane Burko’s Antarctica Diptych, which bears witness to global warming. These highlighted works are accompanied by several new additions of American art to the collection by history painter Emanuel Leutze, Symbolist Elihu Vedder, American Impressionist Ernest Lawson, Midwestern sculptors Janet Scudder and Mildred Welsh Hammond, Park Avenue Cubist Albert Eugene Gallatin, mid-century modernist Earl Kerkam, and African American artist Joseph Delaney.  The variety of objects is further enhanced with photo drawings by Ball State Emeritus Professor Lawrence Graham, Japanese prints and sculpture, and a spectacular African mask. These works add significantly to the museum’s world art collection, which reflects Ball State’s inclusive values and represents the increasingly diverse heritage of its student body and the people of East Central Indiana. 

Watch a public talk by featured artist Diane Burko on art and climate change. This exhibition and event are both made possible by Ball State University's Arts Alive Series, presented by the College of Fine Arts.

Image: Diane Burko, Antarctica Diptych (Antarctica Dream #1 and Paradise Channel, Lemaire #3), 2013, oil on canvas, Purchase: Sharon Seager Women’s Art Fund and Gift of Joseph and Pamela Yohlin,  2021.012.001-002 © Diane Burko. 

In spring of 2022, the David Owsley Museum of Art hosted an expansive exhibition of more than 50 paintings and drawings by figurative artist Larry Day (1921–1998). Organized by the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the exhibition explores Day’s contributions to American art from the 1950s through the 1990s. Body Language: The Art of Larry Day is curated by the artist’s longtime friend David Bindman, emeritus professor of history of art at University College, London.

The exhibition surveys the three most prominent thematic categories in Day’s distinctive career: abstraction, figuration, and cityscape. Together, they work in concert to reinforce the artist’s significance and lasting relevance while exploring Day’s shift from abstraction to representation. In his hometown, Day was known as “the Dean of Philadelphia Painters,” so powerful was his inspiration and impact as an instructor at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and across the city's many other art schools.

Body Language: The Art of Larry Day carefully examines the evolution of Day’s artistic voice, from his fascination with the work of the old masters and his expert skills as a draftsman, to his deep and abiding interest in music, literature, popular culture, and esoteric philosophical texts. Several of his monumental, multi-figural paintings are paired with their preparatory drawings and reveal glimpses of the artistic process.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalog distributed by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes essays by David Bindman; Sid Sachs, chief curator and director of exhibitions at UArts; Jonathan Bober, curator and head of the Department of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery of Art; and artist Eileen Neff, who studied with and subsequently taught alongside Day. Also included is a “Memory Portrait” writtenby retired National Gallery of Art curator Ruth Fine, who married Day in 1983.

Learn more about the exhibition on the Ball State News Center.

Educators may download a packet of related materials here.

Watch a video of the 2022 Edmund F. Petty Lecture by Ruth Fine, who spoke on March 31, 2022 about the exhibition.

painting by Larry Day, "Narrative"

Image: Larry Day, American (1921–1998), Narrative: To the Memory of Matteo Giovanetti, 1967, oil on canvas 65 ½ x 78 3/8 in., Woodmere Art Museum, Gift of Ruth Fine in honor of Irving and Miriam Brown Fine, 2020, © Woodmere Art Museum

Learn more about this exhibition at Ball State's News Center.

The traveling exhibition Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art presents more than sixty works selected from a body of art amassed over 35 years by a working-class couple. Kerry, a retired mailman, and Betty, a former television news producer, gave up many ordinary comforts in order to live with extraordinary paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures as their principal luxuries. Their collection includes works by Romare Bearden, Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Alma Thomas, and Charles White, but Kerry and Betty do not search exclusively for well-known and/or documented artists. Rather, they focus on the more meaningful task of gathering and preserving a range of artistic approaches to the Black image, in order to console the psyche and contribute to a more authentic articulation of the self.

The result is an eclectic gathering of works of art crossing different mediums, subjects, and styles by a group of artists of the African Diaspora who—in terms of training, experience, and expression—are strikingly diverse but unified in their use of cultural and historical narratives. As their collection has grown, so has the Davises' storehouse of memories of discovering new works of art, building friendships with artists, and conversing with museum professionals and other collectors in their home. Memories & Inspiration brings together an awe-inspiring selection of works, but it is their personal resonance—their connection to the Davises’ hopes, passions, and everyday lives—that gives the collection its unique power.

This exhibition at DOMA was made possible with funding from Arts Alive, presented by the College of Fine Arts at Ball State University. Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art was organized and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

International Arts and Artists logo


Image: Yashua Klos, Coby, 2003, graphite. Photograph by Gregory Staley. © 2018 Yashua Klos.

This companion exhibition to Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art features works of art in a variety of media and styles. Subjects depicted include folk and traditional landscapes or still lifes by John Wesley Hardrick, Richard Mayhew, and Joseph Yoakum; abstract and non-objective art by Richard Hunt and Martin Puryear; and art addressing social justice issues by Elizabeth Catlett, Marion Epting, and Jacob Lawrence.

In addition, the display introduces a gift of nearly 1,000 drawings by Joseph Delaney alongside recent purchases of art by Charles White and Dox Thrash. A final section presents paintings and a print by contemporary visual artist and educator Darius Steward. Viewers are further encouraged to seek out works by African American artists exhibited throughout the museum’s galleries, including jewelry by Art Smith, a flag painting by June Edmonds, and a bronze sculpture by Richard Hunt.

As a world art museum, the David Owsley Museum of Art exhibits a diverse and inclusive collection that represents people and cultures from nearby and around the globe. As part of its mission, DOMA presents temporary exhibitions and continues the systematic acquisition of works by African Americans and artists of the African diaspora. 

Image: Dox Thrash, American (1892 – 1965), Construction Workers, Philadelphia, about 1945, oil on board, Purchase: Ball Brothers Legacy Endowment, 2020.010.001. © artist’s estate

During the summer of 2021, the David Owsley Museum of Art presents The Sistine Chapel Trilogy, a three-volume publication with color plates of every painting in the chapel, including several details reproduced at actual size. Measuring 24 by 17 inches and weighing 75 pounds, the 822 pages feature foldouts as large as 62 inches across. Bound in silk and calfskin in northern Italy by the only bindery in the world that produces books of this size, only 600 copies were printed in English. 

In order to create the illustrations, a team of photographers spent 67 nights on scaffolding, documenting every square centimeter of decoration in the chapel, including the famous frescoes by Michelangelo, but also those by his predecessors Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, and others. In all, the team stitched together 270,000 high-resolution images that capture every hue, line, brushstroke, and crack in the plaster. The trilogy represents the connection between traditional craftsmanship, artistic creation, and the latest digital technology.

Changing displays of the open volumes will be on exhibit in the Brown Study Room. Reservations for special viewings, accompanied by an art handler to turn the large pages, can be arranged by contacting artmuseum@bsu.edu or by calling (765) 285-5242.

The presentation of The Sistine Chapel Trilogy is made possible by a gift from the museum’s generous patron, Ann M. Stack. The volumes will remain at the museum and available to students and researchers upon request.

detailed image from The Sistine Chapel paintings

Michelangelo, scenes from the Book of Genesis, The Creation of Adam. Detail of the face of God. © Vatican Museum

View the Online Exhibition

A native of Dallas, Texas, Morgan Everhart works as a painter, installation artist, and writer in Brooklyn, New York. Using varying degrees of abstraction and daring colors from fleshy pinks to deep burgundy, Everhart makes floral compositions in which motion and emotion are inextricably linked. The artist often begins with a figural scene and then conceals it beneath floral elements so that symbolically, the painting’s human content becomes the fodder from which nature springs. Flesh and Bloom explores the themes of longing and the passage of time in 17 of Everhart’s paintings, including DOMA's 2021 Art in Bloom theme image, Closer, clearer, no sir, nearer (2018), in which a whirlwind of jewel-colored petals culminates in blue daisy “eyes.” Curated by Dr. Yassana Croizat-Glazer, the exhibition of Everhart’s paintings was presented online, while Closer, clearer, no sir, nearer was on view in the Ball Brothers Foundation Galleries.


Morgan Everhart, Closer, clearer, no sir, nearer, 2018, oil on panel, 37.5 x 23.5 inches, © Morgan Everhart; Courtesy of YCG Fine Art.

Watch an online talk with Jordan D. Schnitzer from March 18, 2021.

Spanning half a century, POP Power from Warhol to Koons: Masterworks from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation expands beyond the ordinary exhibition of Pop art—now a historical movement of the 1960s—and explores the work of its leaders Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, next to that of their present-day, Neo-Pop heirs, including powerhouses such as the American Jeff Koons and his English counterpart Damien Hirst. Indeed, the aesthetics and approaches of Pop art have demonstrated a unique adaptability and staying power in contrast to other major post-World War II movements like Abstract Expressionism or Minimalism. At the same time, Neo-Pop has been under-examined both as a useful term and in regard to its connections with Pop and other currents. By exploring Pop and Neo-Pop art together and comparing their similarities and differences, we gain a deeper understanding of their practitioners’ intentions and strategies, as well as the art’s relationship to broader cultural evolutions.

This special exhibition was made possible through a collaboration with the collector and philanthropist Jordan D. Schnitzer and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. Together Schnitzer and his foundation hold the nation’s largest private collection of prints and multiples, currently numbering over fourteen thousand artworks by more than two hundred fifty artists. By hosting these works, the David Owsley Museum of Art demonstrates a commitment to the display of postwar American and international contemporary art, showcasing many of the most popular artists of the second half of the 20th and the early 21st centuries.

The exhibition is organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation and the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia, and appeared at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington.

Support for the exhibition and related educational and outreach programs has been made possible with funding from ArtsAlive!, the College of Fine Arts, Ball State University and the Friends of the David Owsley Museum of Art. 

Image: Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997). Sweet Dreams, Baby!, 1965, published 1966, from 11 Pop Artists. Screenprint. David Owsley Museum of Art, Purchase: Friends of the Museum 1970.002.000 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. 

Enjoy virtual experiences of this special exhibition:

The centennial anniversary (1920-2020) of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the legal right to vote in the United States, presents an ideal opportunity to examine the visibility of women artists in museums. Despite gender biases rooted in previous centuries, the David Owsley Museum of Art has made and continues to make a deliberate effort to collect and display major works by women artists.

This exhibition presents a selection of paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, and architectural drawings from the museum’s collection, along with loans from Ball State’s Andrew Seager Archive of the Built Environment, as a lens to more clearly view the accomplishments of twenty American women artists of local, regional, national, and international prominence.

The artists include both lesser known and famous women, such as Winifred Brady Adams, Betty Esman, Perle Fine, Grace Hartigan, Margo Hoff, Lee Krasner, and Joan Mitchell; Indiana’s first licensed female architect Juliet Peddle; photographers Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Imogen Cunningham, and Eva Rubinstein; sculptors Harriet Frishmuth and Toshiko Takaezu; as well as modern and contemporary artists Judy Chicago, Jenny Holzer, Judy Ledgerwood, Irene Rice Periera, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker.

By focusing on these artists and making their work more visible to the public, we hope to redress a distorted historical record and present a clearer vision for a future in which women artists enjoy greater prestige. Please join us in fulfilling the Nineteenth Amendment’s promise by granting artists of the United States the right of representation in museum collections, regardless of gender.

Moon Pot (Toshiko Takaezu), 1980s

Toshiko Takaezu, American (1922-2011), Moon Pot, 1980s, stoneware, pink and black glazes, Gift of the Artist 2006.013.005

Rivera painting of girl holding flowers

Image: Diego Rivera, Mexican (1866–1957), Girl with Flowers (Niña con flores), 1954, watercolor on rice paper, Collection of Dr. Zapanta. © 2019 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artist Rights Society

The Zapanta Mexican Art Collection provides an overview of artistic styles and a consideration of significant themes, political events, and social narratives that informed the creative output of several generations of modern Mexican artists.

The paintings, drawings, and prints on display represent not only Los Tres Grandes (The Three Greats) of Mexican mural painting, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, but also works by Rufino Tamayo and Francisco Zúñiga, as well as a drawing by Frida Kahlo. An illustrated catalog, written in both English and Spanish, accompanies the exhibition, which was organized by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.

The exhibition at Ball State University is complemented by a presentation of works from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s collection reinforced by loans that highlight Mexican artists’ impact on the United States and East Central Indiana, including vintage photographs of Frida Kahlo in New York, Mexico, and at the U.S. border by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and others. This adjunct exhibit incorporates important works by Rivera and Siqueiros collected by the Ball family and spotlights the Indiana painters Howard Leigh and Carolyn Bradley, who were Inspired by the imagery, culture, and people of Mexico.

A selection of photographs, paintings, prints, and decorative arts from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s collection combined with loans from public and private sources demonstrate the impact of modern Mexican art on collectors and artists in Indiana and the United States of America. Mexican Modernity: Impact complements the exhibition Mexican Modernity: 20th-Century Art from the Zapanta Collection.

Prints, drawings, and watercolors from DOMA’s collection by Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros memorialize a Soviet parade and celebrate Mexican workers. Paintings and prints from DOMA’s collection, paired with loans from the Richmond Art Museum (Indiana), testify to a further connection between East Central Indiana and Mexico as Indiana-born artists Howard Leigh and Carolyn Gertrude Bradley adopted elements of the Mexican muralists’ style, if not their politics. Additional works illuminate the connection between a Muncie industrialist’s widow, a Mexican painter, and the picturesque colonial town of Taxco.

Finally, Throckmorton Fine Art in New York lent a series of photographs by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and others that illustrate the lives, politics, and art of Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, in New York, Mexico, and at the U.S. border.

Diego Rivera painting of political demonstration

Image: Diego Rivera, Mexican (1887-1957), Demonstration, Moscow, November 7, 1927: Masses Marching with Three Foreground Figures, 1927, chalk and watercolor on paperboard, Elisabeth Ball Collection, gift of the George and Frances Ball Foundation 1995.036.050. ©2019 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artist Rights Society. 

This exhibition of African, Asian, North American, European, and Oceanic art manifests the David Owsley Museum of Art’s commitment to the universal art museum, respectfully displaying the artistic heritage of the region, nation, and world.

Several new acquisitions connect to past exhibitions or works of art in the museum. A gift of conceptual photographs by Kenji Nakahashi reconstitutes an exhibition held at the Ball State University Museum of Art in 1984. Abstract sculptures by Conrad Marca-Relli and James Rosati join prior examples of works on paper by these artists already in the collection. A bequest of David and Mary Jane Sursa as well as a donation from Stanley Griner and Laura Harmon enrich the museum’s holdings of prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Georges Rouault, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Other recent acquisitions feature art from around the globe. Masks and a carved architectural element represent the Bobo, Baga, and Yoruba peoples of West Africa. Ritual objects and sculpture from Tibet, Japan, and Southeast Asia join Chinese export porcelain. Art Deco ceramics from local Muncie Potteries appear alongside contemporary designs by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Richard Meier.

Modern American paintings and sculpture by James Brooks, Marsden Hartley, and Ruth Duckworth accompany contemporary prints by Marilyn Minter, Pat Steir, and Swoon. Donations from Ball State alumnus Jerry Cooper and the estate of Marjorie Zeigler expand the selection of Native American art on view. Works by Elisabetta Sirani, Piat-Joseph Sauvage, and Charles François Daubigny display several centuries of European art. Oceanic art is exemplified by a body mask created by the Asmat people of Papua, Indonesia, and a club from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.

Credit lines on the object labels commemorate important lenders and donors. Labels marked “David T. Owsley Collection” designate planned gifts. These new arrivals contribute to the greater conversation about global art for future generations of students and visitors.

Curated by Robert G. La France, director, with assistance from Jonah James ‘20 and Lilly McClung ‘20, undergraduate curatorial assistants.

Kenji Nakahashi, Japanese (1947–2017)

Kenji Nakahashi, Japanese (1947-2017), Two Eggs, 1984, gelatin silver print, Anonymous gift in memory of Kenji Nakahashi, 2018.020.021 © Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Impressions of Love: J. Ottis and Winifred Brady Adams

Extended Exhibition of Selected Works

June 10–August 30, 2019

In the spring of 2019, the David Owsley Museum of Art commemorated Ball State University’s centennial by celebrating the art and marriage of noted Indiana Impressionist painters John Ottis Adams (1851-1927) and Winifred Brady Adams (1871-1955). The display of the museum’s holdings of works of art by the couple has been extended through the summer.

Born in Amity, Indiana, J. Ottis studied in London and Munich. He returned from Europe and established an art school in Muncie during the natural gas boom. In 1889, Winifred Brady became J. Ottis’s pupil. She continued her artistic training in Philadelphia and then in New York with Indiana-born painter William Merritt Chase. Winifred and J. Ottis married in 1898 and raised three sons. 

J. Ottis was one of five Indiana Impressionist artists known as the Hoosier Group. His luminous landscapes—painted mainly near his homes in Muncie and subsequently Brookville, Indiana, Leland, Michigan, and New Smyrna, Florida—have earned lasting fame.

Although her career was overshadowed by her husband’s celebrity, Winifred’s glowing still-life paintings deserve recognition alongside J. Ottis’s work. More can be learned about the painters’ art and lives by viewing the work on display and in the exhibition catalogue. Copies are available for purchase for $20 at the museum's front desk during open hours, or may be reserved online here for pickup (shipping is not available).

Winifred Brady Adams, American (1871-1955), Flowers and an Hourglass, about 1910-1920, oil on canvas. Elisabeth Ball Collection, gift of the George and Frances Ball Foundation, 1984.009.010 © the artist’s estate.

The David Owsley Museum of Art commemorates Ball State University’s centennial by celebrating the art and marriage of noted Indiana Impressionist painters John Ottis Adams (1851-1927) and Winifred Brady Adams (1871-1955). The congenial, artistic couple, whose art was fostered and collected by the Ball family, awakened community interest in the visual arts that eventually led to the founding of the museum. Arousing a regional consciousness, their landscape, still life, and portrait paintings pay homage to the beauty and splendor of the Indiana environs and American small-town life of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

A talented, academically trained painter, Winifred Brady Adams’s career and artistic accomplishments have been overshadowed by her husband’s legacy. Appearing as a footnote in most early Indiana history publications, Winifred finally receives the attention she deserves in this major exhibition and its accompanying catalogue.

A large number of paintings and drawings by both artists has been assembled from significant regional institutions and private collections, including the greatest quantity of works by Winifred Brady Adams ever displayed, many of which have been seldom seen by the public. For more information on this exhibition, visit the Ball State News Center.

A full-color, exhaustive catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Copies are available for purchase for $20 at the museum's front desk during open hours, or may be reserved online here for pickup. (Shipping is not available at this time.)

John Ottis Adams painting of poppies in a field

John Ottis Adams, American (1851-1927), In Poppyland, 1901, oil on canvas, Frank C. Ball Collection, gift of the Ball Brothers Foundation, 1995.035.040

This exhibition was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut.

Peculiar, absurd, mystical, unforgettable, these are the worlds of Edward Gorey (1925-2000), the American artist and author. For more than fifty years, he delighted and amused audiences with his spare pen and ink drawings that illustrated tales of hapless children, kohl-eyed swooning maidens, and whimsical creatures. His theatrical work—not least of which was the opening sequence to PBS’s Mystery!—blended the bizarre and the comic with eloquence, ultimately creating fictions that have endured.

Gorey's Worlds is the first exhibition to explore Gorey's artistic inspiration and is centered on his personal art collection, bequeathed to the Wadsworth Atheneum, the only public institution to receive his legacy. His collection features a diverse array of 19th and 20th century European and American artists including Eugène Atget, Odilon Redon, Bill Traylor, Charles Burchfield, and others as well as examples of folk art.

Gorey's imagery and word-play resonate with audiences of all ages and his legacy is international in scope. His gothic sensibility and whimsical humor continue to influence contemporary culture. Among his aesthetic descendants are filmmaker Tim Burton, author Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), the rock band Nine Inch Nails, and fashion designer Anna Sui. While his own work has been the subject of exhibitions, Gorey's Worlds offers a fresh perspective on the artist by inviting visitors to step into Gorey’s imagination and viewing the art he collected alongside his own sketches, drawings, prints, and art books. The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to introduce new audiences to Edward Gorey and for existing Gorey admirers to experience his artistic mindset and the visual ecosystem he created.

The exhibition and impressive catalogue have been reviewed in The Wall Street Journal (twice), The New York Review of Books, and The New Yorker.

Without his Clippings

Image: Edward Gorey, “Without his clippings, Jasper now wrote long letters to Ortenzia, which went unanswered.” Illustration for The Blue Aspic. New York: Meredith Press, 1968. Pen and ink on paper. © The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

This exhibition was organized in partnership with Ball State University Libraries and the College of Architecture and Planning.

The centennial anniversary brings to light the power of place in shaping the university environment and the student experience. This exhibition examines three key buildings for the teaching of the arts and architecture and their impact on the campus and community. What would become the Ball State campus began in 1899 with a single building, now known as the Frank A. Bracken Administration Building, which offered instruction in all subjects. There was extensive growth from 1923–1929, beginning with Science Hall (known today as Burkhardt Building), followed by Ball Gym, the Library and Assembly Hall, Burris, and Lucina. Over time, the university constructed increasingly specialized, showcased buildings for the arts, including the 1936 Fine Arts Building at the center of the Quad. As the campus expanded northward, the university dedicated a purpose-built structure to house its nationally ranked programs in the College of Architecture and Planning in 1972, followed by an innovative addition in 1980. Take a walk back in time for a glimpse into the university’s architectural transformation that points towards a future of limitless opportunities.

Power of Place image

Diebenkorn detail

Organized by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in conjunction with the Crocker Art Museum

Curated by Scott Shields, Associate Director and Chief Curator of the Crocker Art Museum

This blockbuster exhibition and its accompanying catalogue* aim to present a comprehensive view of Diebenkorn’s evolution to maturity, focusing solely on the paintings and drawings that precede his 1955 shift to figuration at age 33. Included in the exhibition are paintings and drawings primarily from the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation, many of which have never before been publicly exhibited. Together, these 78 drawings and 22 paintings offer a full picture of the young artist’s achievements.

Visit the Ball State News RoomBall State Magazine, and Spring 2018 ARTwords newsletter for additional information and background on this special exhibition.

This exhibition is traveling nationally to the following sites:

Image: Richard Diebenkorn, #2 (Sausalito) (1949), oil on canvas, 45 1/8 x 37 3/8 in. (114.6 x 94.9 cm) © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

Engaging Technology IICurated by John Fillwalk, Director IDIA Lab

Engaging Technology II presents a selection of internationally renowned artists who are actively investigating the intersections of the arts and sciences. These explorations include installations, code art, augmented and virtual reality, performance, and human computer interaction. The exhibition explores approaches surrounding Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STE[A]M) as a contemporary investigation of emergent trends.

Throughout the run of the exhibition, a series of invited performances, lectures, and workshops are scheduled on campus and within the community that will enhance the exhibition’s programming and be available to both the University and regional community.

ARTISTS: Casey Raes, Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand, Adam Brown, Tristan Perich, Hans Breder, and IDIA Lab

Sponsored by Ball State University's Office of the Provost and the John R. Emens Distinguished Professorship Fund.

With additional programming support from The Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts, Ball State University

Image: Adam Brown, The Great Work of the Metal Lover, mixed media installation, 2012.

LeRoy NeimanLeRoy Neiman (1921–2012) left his mark on the history of sports art. Even those unfamiliar with his name will know his art by sight: bright pinks, magentas, and greens applied in a fluid, abstract manner to describe action on the football field, on the basketball court, and in the gymnasium. Neiman knew major sports figures as personal friends and, like a wartime photographer, he embedded with the troops. Action! features 74 paintings and drawings that shed new light on Neiman as a master draftsman deeply grounded in the many languages of the graphic arts, as well as in their most basic precept: the ability to capture motion. Athletes and the athletically gifted provided Neiman with source material of which he never tired. This exhibition highlights Neiman’s ability to capture pose and gesture, from Joe Montana preparing a pass or Prince Philip playing polo to dancers contorting their bodies on the street and stage.

Image: LeRoy Neiman, American (1921-2012), Joe Montana, 1989, colored pencil, pastel, spray paint, and felt pen on paper, © LeRoy Neiman Foundation, New York.

New Acquisitions ExhibitThis exhibition of art for the David Owsley Museum of Art highlights the medium of photography.  The selection showcases a substantial donation of contemporary photographs from a consortium of artists that includes several university professors. The total gift of 42 photographs by 13 artists is part of a much larger philanthropic campaign called The Museum Project. Established in 2012 by Robert von Sternberg and Darryl Curran, The Museum Project has donated more than 5,000 prints to public and university museums across the United States. The David Owsley Museum of Art is honored to join this group’s effort to enrich the photographic collections at American institutions ranging from the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana.

The photos on display represent a wide variety of genres or types, including conceptual, landscape, figural, portrait, and historical subjects by Barry Anderson, Robert Fichter, Kenda North, Sheila Pinkel, Bonnie Schiffman. Robert von Sternberg, Melanie Walker, Todd Walker, and Nancy Webber. In addition to The Museum Project acquisitions, the current exhibition also features two industrial landscapes by Gunther Cartwright, a professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology with ties to Muncie. The diversity of these images demonstrates the museum’s commitment to offering examples of a wide range of photographic styles and techniques in its teaching collection.

image: Barry W. Andersen, American (born 1945), Sheep and Standing Stone Avebury, England, 1995, inkjet print, printed 2017, Gift of The Museum Project, 2016.009.021.

Michael Dunbar, Chi Cyclotron

Many contemporary sculptors emphasize their self-conscious break from the art of the past. In contrast, Michael Dunbar acknowledges the roots and continuity of his style from the great masters. The exhibition Continuum: The Art of Michael Dunbar and the Sculptural Tradition, places the artist’s contemporary Machinist Studies series within the context of the history of sculpture of the Beaux-Arts, Realist, Figurative, Cubist, and Modernist styles as represented by exceptional examples from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s collection. Artist Talk planned for September 21.

Image: Michael Dunbar, Chi Cyclotron, 2010, machined and polished bronze, 20.5 x 11.5 x 15 in., Courtesy of the artist.

Corban Walker, 129-40 (detail)Shift. A slight movement. A transition from one gear to another. A period of time in a worker’s day. A movement of the eye from one object to another. An exhibition designed to interpret and challenge our perceptions of self and others as experienced and demonstrated by three artists who work in color, glass and Plexiglas, video, paint, and wood. The artists each test our notions of space, identity, and transparency by investigating the movement of light, movement of substance, and movement through space.

A shift in mood or perspective is at once a subtle, nuanced transition and an abrupt break from what went before. It can be small and it can be dramatic. While issues of identity are often brought to bear in figurative works, Jongil Ma, Christopher Smith, and Corban Walker create in conceptual, abstract ways that alter our viewpoints as we relate to others and the world around us.

SHIFT presents works that explore, through the clear eyes of three artists, how we see and experience space and time as well as physical and emotional realities.

Image: Corban Walker, 129-40 (detail), 2013, acrylic, screw posts, 129 x 129 x 40 cm., © Corban Walker, 2016.

Edward Fulwider, Casey JonesThis exhibition of recently acquired works of art for the David Owsley Museum of Art highlights the robust growth of the museum’s permanent collection thanks to donations, purchases, and promised gifts on long-term loan. It also manifests our commitment to the universal art museum, one that showcases the artistic heritage of the Midwest, the Americas, and the world.

The new additions feature Old Master prints by Frenchmen Jacques Callot and Jean-Jacques Lagrenée, Pre-Columbian sculpture from the Aztec and Olmec cultures, and works of Jain and Buddhist art from India, China, Tibet, and Thailand. Recent acquisitions also include paintings, prints, and sculpture by American regional masters, such as the Midwestern painter Edwin Fulwider, Indiana sculptor Gary Freeman, and former Ball State University printmaker Ronald Penkoff. In addition, the modern and contemporary art on exhibit originates from across the United States, including works by New York artist Merle Temkin, Midwestern printmaker David F. Driesbach, and the late San Francisco painter and printmaker William Wolff."

Image: Edward Fulwider, Casey Jones, 1936, oil on Masonite(TM), David Owsley Museum of Art, 2015.022.000.

1 in 3 logo with hummingbirdThe title of the contemporary art exhibition 1 in 3 from the World Bank Art Program derives from a chilling statistic. More than one in three women around the world are beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during their lifetimes. The exhibition will display photographs, paintings, sculpture, and video created by international, emerging contemporary artists that directly confront gender-based violence (GBV). This is art that makes a difference by raising awareness about a serious global issue with local effects.
Watercolor paintingContemporary Indiana artist Brian Gordy explores the powerful connection between technique and content through a carefully curated selection of masterworks from the rich collection of watercolors at the David Owsley Museum of Art.

His choices emphasize transparency as fundamental to the medium of watercolor, and examine how both famous and less well-known watercolorists have exploited this technique to achieve the most appropriate visual effects for particular subjects. Some of the highlights of the exhibition include stunning displays of light, atmosphere, and sky in works by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Reginald Marsh, as well as examples by less familiar masters of watercolor, such as Alice Baber, Thomas Blackwell, John Lavalle, Hachiro Nakagawa and Millard Sheets.

Gordy notes that his selections “were not driven by the fame of the individual artists or their histories, but from a studio artist’s point of view. The title With Watercolor means that these are works of art that required watercolor as a medium from the very beginning in order to realize the artists’ intentions.”

Unlike most exhibitions that focus on one medium, Gordy will also demonstrate several watercolor techniques during a live, public presentation in Recital Hall. Visitors are then encouraged to see the show through an artist’s eyes, as they learn to identify different methods across a wide variety of styles. In addition, children and adults are invited to practice painting in a special watercolor studio embedded within the exhibition galleries.

By featuring local artist Gordy as its curator, this exhibition celebrates the wealth of artistic talent resident in Muncie on the occasion of the city’s 150th anniversary.

Image: Edward Hopper, American (1882–1967), House with Rain Barrel, ca. 1936, watercolor. Elisabeth Ball Collection, gift of the George and Frances Ball Foundation, 1995.036.016

Being ThereIn Being There, Professor Mark Sawrie explores the concept of human presence and experience in places of palpable ambiance through the medium of photography.  His personal selections from the museum's collection will inspire viewers to develop new interpretations of images both strange and new that represent a wide range of subjects and styles.  The featured photographers include John Divola, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Kenji Nakahashi, among others.  

Being There is part of a new series of faculty-curated exhibitions that focus on teaching in the museum.  Our goal is to capture a BSU artist and professor's point of view and to present visitors with a rare opportunity to see the collection through his or her eyes.  In this case, Being There also creates an occasion to familiarize students and the public with the growing collection of photographs at the David Owsley Museum of Art.

Sawrie's selections mirror his beliefs and artistic practice, which encourages students and viewers to observe carefully and focus on the present - without electronic distractions.  In his own words, "You're invited, but please don't bring your smartphone."  He plans to fully integrate the museum's masterworks of photography into his classes this semester through class lectures and a student assignment that requires a reconsideration of a person or character's place within the environment. 

Image: Ralph Eugene Meatyard, American (1925-1972), Madonna from Portfolio Three: The Work of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, 1964, gelatin silver print, printed 1974. Museum purchase, 1975.002.001

Children seated on a benchListening is something hardly anyone does enough of, but local youth are documenting it as part of a community photography project. When Eric Gottesman, one of the artists in the spring semester exhibition Fractured Narratives: A Strategy to Engage, visited Muncie to talk about his work, he also met with local youths. He listened to them and helped them map where they are heard, who hears them, and where they listen to others. Together, while viewing the exhibition, they discussed what makes a good photograph.

Professor Ruby Cain and her EDAC 698 adult and community education graduate students in the class Cultural Identities and Community Engagement coordinated the participants for the project. These graduate students are working with the staff and listening to the youth of the Boys and Girls Club, Buley Center, Friends of Conley, and Motivate Our Minds.

DOMA is proud to include Listening Across Generations as part of the Muncie Sesquicentennial.

Fractured NarrativesThe exhibition Fractured Narratives features contemporary art that addresses today’s global issues, including privacy, modern warfare, the environment, and freedom of expression. This selection of film, photography, painting, sculpture, and sound art by famous and emerging artists invites visitors to reflect upon the ambiguities of modern, fragmented accounts. These current intercontinental and cross-cultural stories supplement and enhance the largely historical world art collection at the David Owsley Museum of Art.

In the exhibition catalogue, curators Amy Galpin and Abigail Ross Goodman state that they selected works by artists who “purposefully avoid didactic or direct polemical expression as they take on social, political, or cultural content to create opportunities for a challenging, uncomfortable, and nuanced consideration of their subjects.”

For example, Maya Lin’s delicate sculpture, Silver Thames (2012), represents England’s most precious and fragile river ecosystem. Similarly, Alfredo Jaar’s hypnotically gorgeous film Muxima (2005)—that takes its title from an Angolan folk song that means heart—confronts that country’s legacy of colonialism, war, and AIDS through music and image.

Fractured Narratives draws much of its content from the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. By partnering with the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins, the Owsley brings recent work by international artists to the Ball State community and the city of Muncie. The artists include: Dawoud Bey, Eric Gottesman, Jenny Holzer, Alfredo Jaar, Amar Kanwar, William Kentridge, An-My Lê, Maya Lin, Goshka Macuga, “Moris” Israel Moreno, Rivane Neuenschwander, Trevor Paglen, Sandra Ramos, and Martha Rosler.

“I hope that Fractured Narratives inspires students, faculty, and residents to question and discuss the challenges of our increasingly interconnected world,” says Director Robert G. La France. Throughout the spring semester, the exhibition will be enriched by talks and performances. La France adds, “Although this show is temporary, the illustrated catalog will allow visitors to engage with the exhibition’s art and ideas long after the videos fade to black.” This exhibit and associated programming are supported by the John R. Emens Distinguished Professorship Fund.

image: Martha Rosler (b. New York City, New York), Cellular, 2004, photomontage, 20 ¾ x 24 ¾ inches. Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, 2013.34.083

Gift of David T. OwsleyThe credit line Gift of David T. Owsley appears on hundreds of labels throughout the museum. Now it is the title of a video documentary directed by graduate student Shane Dresch under the supervision of Professor Robert Brookey, director of the Digital Storytelling Master’s Program in Telecommunications at Ball State. Through a series of candid interviews of faculty, students, and museum supporters, Gift of David T. Owsley describes the namesake’s remarkable donations and their impact on both the university and the city of Muncie. The thirty-minute film also features David T. Owsley explaining his fascination with art, his canny collecting strategies, and his love of beautiful objects. It outlines his long career as curator and patron, including moments from a personal tour of galleries in the museum and his art-filled New York apartment.

Several of David T. Owsley’s most recent gifts were exhibited next to the museum’s screening room, including a handsome eighteenth-century French portrait of a musician painted by Guillaume Voiriot (1713-1799) and a sublime nocturnal harbor scene attributed to the Neapolitan painter Carlo Bonavia (act. 1755-1788). These, and many other works donated by David T. Owsley to Ball State University, the State of Indiana, and the museum that bears his name, continue the legacy of Ball Family beneficence initiated by his maternal grandfather Frank C. Ball and grand-uncles Lucius, William, Edmund, and George.

In traditional printmaking, an inked image is transferred from a printing surface in reverse onto a sheet of paper, and the process is repeated multiple times. Reverse and Repeat serves as an overview of the printmaker’s art while also providing an occasion for seasoned connoisseurs to view highlights from the David Owsley Museum of Art’s growing collection of over 4,000 works on paper.

Devised as an introduction to the medium, the exhibition includes works by famous and less well-known artists, such as Albrecht Dürer, Paul Gauguin, Hokusai, Edward Hopper, Mauricio Lasansky, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Rembrandt, and Diego Rivera. In addition to presenting an abridged survey of the history of printmaking from the fifteenth century until today, these examples have been carefully selected to represent the three fundamental families of prints: relief, intaglio, and planographic or surface printing. Each section illustrates a variety of techniques, including woodcut, engraving, etching, aquatint, drypoint, and lithography. Accessible explanations of printmaking methods, along with guided docent tours, teach students how to identify print types through close examination with the naked eye and magnifying glass.

image of 'head of a young woman' by erich heckel

Image: Erich Heckel, Head of a Young Woman (Mädchenkopf), German (1883-1970), woodcut, 13.75 x 9.75 inches, David Owsley Museum of Art, 1972.043.000.

The annual Drawing and Small Sculpture Show was a significant part of the museum’s history for more than three decades. This exhibition featured works by some of the most—and least—famous artists to display works at Ball State University between 1955 and 1984.