DIA is “In Your Dreamsâ€

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ current exhibition of prints is proving to be quite the success.

“In Your Dreams: 500 years of Imaginary Prints” is located in the DIA’s print gallery on the main floor of the museum. Opening last week, the exhibit showcases approximately 120 European and American prints from the DIA’s collection.

“It’s only been open for about a week, but the response has been amazing,” said Nancy Barr, a DIA curator. “The gallery was packed on Wednesday and that’s unusual being that it was a holiday weekend.

Artists from the late 1400s on ward, including Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, and one of the most notable for the DIA — Albert Dürer.

“The further down the exhibit you go the more contemporary the art becomes. It starts though with more historic works,” said Barr.

Three famous Dürer works greet the visitor at the entrance of the exhibit. The series, called “The Apocalypse,” is a woodcut print original that is owned by the DIA.

Woodcut  is a print making technique in which an image is carved out of a block of wood; later black ink is laid over top of it. The ink sinks in the low spots and, when it’s wiped away, the image is revealed.

“We just try to think of interesting things to build on our permanent collection,”  said Barr. “Nancy Sojka came up with this idea just based on themes in our collection that’s taken place in 500 years of print making.”

Associate professor of art and director of Oakland University Art Gallery, Dick Goody, believes students at OU are extremely lucky to be so close to the DIA.

“What a great advantage not to have to take a plane to see such major works,” Goody said. “There’s so much to see both in terms of history and geography.”

Goody commented that people are audio and visual beings. He said seeing the art museum and even driving down to Detroit is an experience a television couldn’t duplicate.

“Take a break and go and see some great art,” Goody said. “Remember that the Detroit Institute of Arts has the fifth greatest collection of art in the country, which is extraordinarily lucky.”

Another form of artistic medium is etching. Etching is a process of using acid to bite or cut into the metal to create a design. One of the most popular artists in the exhibit is Steven Hazard.

Barr said Hazard, a native of Michigan, combines myth with the industrial age. She said it’s apparent in his art that his imagination was “set free”. There are men with  bird heads and other sorts of creatures.

Visitors are able to witness the precise detail up close. So much so, the DIA is providing magnifying glasses so viewers can see the detail down to every last line.

Barr said “In Your Dreams” took nearly a year to plan and organize.

“We have to go through print after print and decide which ones fit,” she said. “Then we have to place them and see how they flow.”

The exhibit runs from Sept. 8 – Jan. 2, 2011.

For more information on the exhibit and other DIA events visit www.dia.org