Artists bring out the animal in NIU brass, sculpt books

By Dulcy Hawksworth

Anyone interested in art can stop by the NIU art museum today to meet the artists responsible for two brand new exhibits.

Receptions for Richard Beard, creator of “Academic Animals Satire Series,” and Chicago artist Margeoux Klein, creator of “The Only Witness,” will be present from 4 to 6 p.m. today in the museum on the second floor of Altgeld Hall.

The Only Witness” is a series of small scale sculptures made from old books and found objects.

“She (Klein) uses many different techniques,” said museum director Lynda K. Martin. Many of Klein’s pieces consist of old books which have had portions cut out of them. In the space left, she inserts small objects such as bottles and vials, and then paints over them with wax. Other objects have been wrapped, tied, or forced into a different shape.

“What she does is takes pieces of old odds and ends that she finds and recycles them into art,” Martin said.

Martin said the books serve as metaphors of the body and the self. “They are symbolic of emotions and past experience,” she said.

“Academic Animals” by NIU art professor Richard Beard is a collection of 20 oil and acrylic paintings produced throughout the past year. They take a humorous and uniquely clever approach to the faculty and administration in the world of academia.

Beard describes his work as “a humorous satire on the administration and faculty.”

“I really don’t satirize students that much,” admitted Beard. The paintings depict reptiles, apes, bats, bears and other wild animals representative of university administration. What makes these paintings humorous are the witty captions that accompany them.

“I’ve been doing academic satire scince I’ve been in the teaching business,” said Beard. His art was inspired by observing how people act; he says that “animals make a good analogy.”

Both exhibits will be on display through March 8. Both are free and open to the public. These are only the first of many exhibits to come to the museum in the year ahead.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.