Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota
February 23 - May 29, 2017
In 1941 the U. S. Justice Department converted Fort Lincoln from a surplus military post into an internment camp to detain people arrested in the United States as enemy aliens. Over its five-year operation as a camp, the Bismarck facility housed about 1,500 men of German nationality, and over 1,800 of Japanese ancestry. The first group of Japanese and German men were arrested by the FBI in the days immediately after Pearl Harbor. The arrests were done under the authority of the Alien Enemies Act, and these so-called "enemy aliens" were removed from their homes, primarily on the West Coast and East Coast, and sent to camps in isolated parts of the country.
Snow Country Prison: Interned in North Dakota opened October 4, 2003, in Bismarck at the site of the former camp, now United Tribes Technical College. The exhibition examined the internment experience of German and Japanese nationals, as well as Japanese American citizens deemed "enemy aliens" following the renunciation of their citizenship during World War II.
The exhibition, curated by Laurel Reuter, Director of the North Dakota Museum of Art, and organized jointly by the Museum and the United Tribes Technical College, featured historic photos and murals of the camp, floor-to-ceiling cloth banners imprinted with images of people interned there, and wall text drawn from the haiku poems of one of the Japanese internees, Itaru Ina, the father of Dr. Satsuki Ina, a consultant to the exhibition.
February 23 - March 26, 2017
As you travel around the Red River Valley by car, fields of sugar beets extend in all directions as far as the eye can see. The only visual relief comes in the form of small groups of people at work weeding in the field. In July of 1995 long-time friends Tom Linfors of Chicago and Richard Faulkner of northwestern Minnesota, stepped out of their car in northwestern Minnesota and made their way into a field. Through the course of the summer they turned those human specks into people with faces and names and lives. In particular they followed Joe Campos who was three weeks old when he traveled with his family for four days in the back of a tarp covered truck from Texas to the Red River Valley. Summer after summer he migrated up to the land of the American Nile, or the Red River, sometimes attending school for brief periods, but always hoeing beets. He was married with three children when he decided to re-settle on the Minnesota side of the Valley and attend the University of North Dakota. The North Dakota Museum of Art assisted the photographers with contacts and letters of endorsement. In the summer of 1996 the Museum first opened the exhibition and every person who appeared in a picture received a copy to take home. The photographers later gave the complete photographic study to the Museum.
Barton Lidice Benes lived in a magical apartment in New York City. It was filled with over $1 million in African, Egyptian, South American, Chinese and contemporary art, plus much more as touted in the New York Times when it announced Barton’s intended gift to North Dakota (2/6/05).
Barton Benes and his treasure trove spent decades tucked away in a glorious boxcar space in Westbeth, the artist community in New York’s West Village. There, rare works of art joined ranks with the arcane, the wistful, the amusing, the deeply serious, and a “maddening and morbid array of things” (a human toe found on New York’s Williamsburg Bridge, a stuffed mink wearing a mink coat, an eight-foot giraffe head). This temporary installation suggests the drama and mystery embedded in Barton’s private wonderland. Continue reading...
North Dakota artist Walter Piehl collaborated with Bill Goldston, Director of Universal Limited Art Editions on Long Island, to create a work of art as a benefit for the North Dakota Museum of Art. ULAE is known as a pioneer for its work with artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and James Rosenquist as they introduced lithography as a fine art form to Americans. Only thirty Walter Piehl prints exist. Print number one will go into the Museum's permanent collection. Print two will be raffled off to the general public, and the remaining twenty-eight are available for Museum supporters, Walter's friends, and collectors. Contact the Museum 701.777.4195 to secure your print, destined to take its rightful place in the history of art on the Northern Plains.
Price: Twenty-eight prints to be sold with all proceeds going to the Museum. Graduated price structure: Edition #3-10 for $2,000 each (SOLD); Edition #11-20 for $2,500 (SOLD); Edition #21-30 for $3,000.
Only 2 prints left
Walter Piehl, Smokey Nellie, Pigmented ink-jet with lithography, 24 x 32 1/4 inches, 2013.
Walter named the work after the two horses his friend Bill Goldston rode as a youngster in Oklahoma.