Missoula Current

Alex Katz’s “Ann CR,” along with UM student Nicole Scoles’ “Glam Series #1,” is on display at the University of Montana President’s Office reception area in Main Hall through April 28.

Katz’s temporary exhibition is part of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture’s “Visiting Masterpieces,” and Scoles’ work will join MMAC’s Permanent Collection. “Visiting Masterpieces” is an ongoing program that highlights masterworks by important historic and contemporary artists on loan from private collections.

Katz, born in 1927, began drawing at an early age while growing up in Queens, New York. He quickly realized he wanted to study art. His high school curriculum allowed him to split his time between academics and the arts, and he found enjoyment studying advertising design. Katz pursued formal art education through undergraduate classes at The Cooper Union.

His early work was inspired by facets of midcentury American culture and society, including television, film and advertising. These sources led to the monumental scale of his mature work, in which intensified lines, contours, colors and shapes balance against figurative subject matter.

Frequently associated with American pop art, Katz’s imagery is instantly recognizable –similar to Andy Warhol’s silkscreened Marilyns or “Campbell’s Soup Cans.” As an easel painter, Katz resists the mechanical means of pop and remains a realist, creating what art historian Robert Storr called “a new and distinctive type of realism in American art which combines aspects of both abstraction and representation.” Katz’s unique style is represented in “Ann CR.”

Recently acquired for the Permanent Collection, Scoles’ “Glam Series #1,” in pencil and acrylic, hangs nearby in UM’s President’s Office. In collecting student work, the MMAC strives to recognize student achievement in the visual arts, while encouraging professional development beyond the University.

The President’s Office, located in Room 109 of UM’s Main Hall, is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on University holidays.