About the artist:
About this exhibit: George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is offering a rare opportunity to see the work of a world renowned artist in Joplin.Norman Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers is on display in the center's Main Gallery through November 8.
The 323 original magazine covers that made Rockwell a household name are part of a national traveling exhibit that included a stop at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.,last year.
This is also one of the rare occasions when Spiva charges an exhibit admission, although a series of Free Fridays is scheduled. Admission is $5 for the general public, and $3 for members,seniors, and students with IDs. Children under 12 will be admitted for free.Free Fridays, when the gallery will be open from noon to 7 p.m., are Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, 17 and 24.
Two related events, a lecture with musical performance and recreations of Rockwell magazine covers, are scheduled during the exhibit.
"Idealizing America: Norman Rockwell and Irving Berlin," will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the Main Gallery. The event combines a lecture and live musical performances to explore how the art of Rockwell and the music of Berlin related to American issues. Berlin’s music will be performed by local voice and piano duo Rebecca Luebber Ensor and Robert Ensor with commentary by Michael Lasser, a New York author and broadcaster. Tickets for the event are $7 for members and $10 general admission. Advance ticket purchases are recommended.
The public will have the opportunity to create living pictures of Rockwell's magazine covers during photo shoots at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Main Gallery. Participants will pose for Mark Neuenschwander of 9art Photography and may select any exhibit piece to recreate, interpreting the illustration through any context desired, as long as the essential action and poses are the same. Props and costumes must be provided by the participants. All entries will be printed and professionally displayed at Spiva and patrons will vote for their favorite. The winner will receive a Norman Rockwell merchandise package. The cost to participate is $25 per team.
Regarded as America’s best-known contemporary illustrator, Rockwell (1894-1978) was considered a keen observer of human nature and a gifted storyteller. His Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations were wholesome depictions of everyday scenarios in American culture, covering more than four decades.
Rockwell, who became art director for Boy's Life when he was 17, began his tenure with the Post in 1916. He later illustrated covers for other magazines, including Look and Life. He also illustrated more than 40 books, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. During the course of his career, he was commissioned to paint portraits of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, as well as those of foreign leaders.
During World War II, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms series, based on what President Roosevelt had declared to be universal rights: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, and Freedom from Fear. The Saturday Evening Post published the paintings in 1943. He also illustrated World War II war bonds for the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Rockwell’s works became so valuable that the record price for one, Saying Grace, reached $46 million in 2013. His major works include No Swimming, Santa with Elves, Doctor and Doll, Rosie the Riveter, Young Lady with the Shiner, and The Problem We All Live With. Some of these illustrations are included in the Spiva exhibit.
Norman Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers is sponsored by Sharon & Lance Beshore and Family with additional financial support from the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. The exhibition was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Mass.