|Museum inaugurates fund drive for major acquisition|
Actor Larry Hagman, star of television’s "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Dallas," will be at the North Dakota Museum of Art Saturday, Oct. 20, to entertain and celebrate a major gift to North Dakota. The artist, Barton Lidice Benes, is giving the contents of his New York apartment to the Museum, which includes over $1 million in African, Egyptian, and contemporary art, plus much more as touted in the New York Times when it announced Barton’s gift to North Dakota (2/6/05). When Benes gives up the apartment, the Museum will dismantle the collection and reassemble it as the Museum’s first period room: a Twenty-First Century Artist’s Studio.
To kick off the fund drive for the acquisition, Benes’ friend Hagman will present his hour-long comedy monologue, "A Night with Larry Hagman," at the North Dakota Museum of Art Saturday evening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $100. Those wishing to attend a more intimate affair are invited to a cocktail buffet at 5 p.m. at the home of North Dakota Museum of Art Director Laurel Reuter. Tickets are $500 and include both events.
The Saturday evening event grows out of Benes’ long-term friendship with Reuter, which resulted in plans for the acquisition of the apartment collection. Larry Hagman and his wife Maj (pronounced my) came to know Barton through Hagman’s mother, the actress Mary Martin.
"A Night With Larry Hagman" is an amazing evening of heartwarming and hilarious storytelling by one of the world’s legendary actors. He shares anecdotes of his life and career as the son of a famous actress, the discovery of a “Jeannie” in a bottle, and who shot J.R., a puzzle that 350 million Dallas fans worldwide wanted to solve. He will narrate a multi-media, hour-long presentation that includes slides, clips, and out-takes.
Reuter and Benes were introduced in 1987 by Harvey Hoshour, the architect who planned the original design for the renovation of the “Old Women’s Gym” on the campus of the University of North Dakota into the home of the North Dakota Museum of Art. Hoshour died before the renovation was complete so Reuter turned to artists to complete the building. Barton Benes designed the Museum Shop and later the Museum’s Donor Wall. The new building opened in 1989 with a survey exhibition of Benes’ art.
Other exhibitions followed in 1995 and 2004. In 1997 the Museum commissioned Benes to create a “flood museum” of metaphor-laden, flood-damaged objects contributed by the people of Grand Forks. The work, 24 feet long and five feet high, is divided into eighty pigeonholes, each containing a reliquary object such as the “favorite toy of flood kitten Iris who drowned but not before moving several kittens to safety in a vent.”
The Museum’s goal is to raise $2 million to fund the project to dismantle Benes’ apartment in New York and recreate it in North Dakota in a reconfigured Museum space. The second million is to build an endowment for exhibitions and programming.
Larry and Maj Hagman are leaving their collection of art made by Barton Benes to the Museum. It is a significant collection.
For more information and ticket purchases, call the Museum at 777-4195. Visit www.ndmoa.com for more information on Barton Benes and his relationship with the Museum.
-- Brian Lofthus, Assistant to the Director, North Dakota Museum of Art, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-3846