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Pappajohn Sculpture Park inspires Des Moines Symphony/Des Moines Art Center collaboration

Posted September 17, 2012 in Web Exclusives

Des Moines, IA (September 2012) — On Thursday, September 27, at 7 pm, Minnesota composer Steve Heitzeg will present a lecture at the Des Moines Art Center, which offers a musical preview of his new composition, Symphony in Sculpture, inspired by the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. A complimentary reception hosted by John and Mary Pappajohn is open to all guests immediately following the lecture in the Art Center lobby. The Des Moines Symphony’s 75th Anniversary Season will debut with the world premiere of the piece on September 29 and 30 at the Civic Center. The lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.*

Heitzeg has written more than 100 works in his career, garnering an Emmy Award as well as Bush and McKnight fellowships. His compositions have been performed by leading orchestras, ensembles, and ballet companies, and have served as the soundtrack for several documentaries, including PBS’ A Marriage: Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Heitzeg’s four-movement Symphony to the Prairie Farm was commissioned by the World Food Prize and premiered by the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra in 2002.

According to Heitzeg, “My aspiration in ‘collaborating’ with the sculptures has been to portray them through sound, perhaps adding a further dimension to these intriguing works. Symphony in Sculpture is dedicated to John and Mary Pappajohn for their vision and deep understanding of the power of art to change a culture and a community in a positive way.”

The following sculptures inspired Heitzeg to compose the piece and create corresponding movements:

I. MOONRISE. east. January., 2005 and MOONRISE. east. august. 2006. (Ugo Rondinone)
II. Spider, 1997 (Louise Bourgeois)
III. Back of a Snowman (White), 2002 and Back of a Snowman (Black), 2002 (Gary Hume)
IV. Ancient Forest, 2009 (Deborah Butterfield)
V. Post-Balzac, 1990 (Judith Shea)
VI. T-8, 1985 (Mark di Suvero)
VII. White Ghost, 2010 (Yoshitomo Nara)
VIII. Thinker on a Rock, 1997 (Barry Flanagan)
IX. Nomade, 2007 (Jaume Plensa)

The Des Moines Art Center, in partnership with the Des Moines Symphony, will also offer free drop-in tours in conjunction with this historic and monumental art and music collaboration on September 24, 26, and 28 from noon – 1 pm. These music and art-themed tours of the park will be led by Art Center docents and feature a Des Moines Symphony musician performing excerpts of the Heitzeg commission next to the sculptures that inspired them. All tours begin at the corner of 15th and Locust Streets next to the donor panel, and take place rain or shine.

*Seating is limited. Please make your FREE reservations at desmoinesartcenter.org by clicking the “Event Reservations” bubble on the home page or by calling 515.271.0313.

Mark Di Suvero (American, born China, 1933)
T8, 1985
Painted steel
343 x 288 x 444 inches
Promised gift from John and Mary Pappajohn to the Des Moines Art Center
Photography © Cameron Campbell

Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the nineteenth century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velásquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect – Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn have provided funding for and donated 27 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the
Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Keith Haring, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Mark di Suvero, is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a collaboration of the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines
Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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