Drawing in Space: A unique exhibit inside the Des Moines Art Center

Drawing in Space Black, transparent and silver reflective tape is what Monika Grzymalaof Berlin used to create this exhibit. She worked alone, on-site, on the project.

The architects of the Des Moines Art Center couldn’t have imagined the latest exhibit inside the walls they designed.

Drawing in Space” at the Des Moines Art Center explores line and space through the creation of large-scale, site-specific installations using tape. The show opened at the end of September and closes on Jan. 21. It’s equal parts overwhelming and intriguing.

“I was not given the gift of a vivid imagination,” Kathy Davidson said Wednesday as she toured the exhibits. “At some point, they had to decide to create things out of tape. Who thinks of that? An artist.”

Davidson—of Urbandale—was with her nine-year-old granddaughter Alice Gawronski.

“It’s really fun to look at all of them,” Alice said. “I like coming to the art center.”

Rhonda Fingerman has worked at the Des Moines Art Center as a supervisor for the last two years and said the “Drawing in Space” exhibit has brought in big numbers to the gallery.

“I think it’s brought in some new audiences that have never been in the museum before,” Fingerman says.

Davidson said this exhibit is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.

“It just takes your breath away,” Davidson says.

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Coming to America

The artists traveled to Des Moines and picked a location inside the art center to create their exhibit.

The artists were:

Christine Crawford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Des Moines Art Center, said some of the artists enlisted help from staff at the Des Moines Art Center during the installation process.

But while the artists were selecting their locations, no artist wanted the same space as the other.

“They just naturally were drawn to the different spaces,” Crawford said.

Crawford said the Numen / For Use exhibit—that visitors can actually go inside—uses 25 miles of tape and took 15 people 10 days to construct.

It was built in—and for—the Pei gallery for this exhibition. The artists have done similar work in other countries but this is the first time they have built such a sculpture in the United States.

“They responded to the space, obviously,” Crawford says laughing. “This is their first time in the United States. And this kind of goes against everything the art center usually does because you can not only touch it, but get in it.”