Artworks by Elizabeth Catlett and Nicolas Darcourt on view at the Hillstrom Museum of ArtApril 14, 2023 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Time: April 14, 2023 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two concurrent exhibits, Improvised Structures: Recent Sculptural Works by Nicolas Darcourt, and Elizabeth Catlett in the Hillstrom Museum of Art, will be on view at the Hillstrom Museum of Art from February 13 through April 23, 2023.  There will be an Opening Reception for the exhibits from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Monday, February 13, 2023, with an Artist Talk by Nicolas Darcourt starting at 7:30.

Nicolas Darcourt has taught ceramics in the Art and Art History Department of Gustavus Adolphus College since 2012, and he serves as the studio and visual arts programs manager for the department.

Darcourt’s ceramic works use press-molded objects and hand-built shapes to focus on a mix of architectural ornament, exposed layers of earth, engineered forms, monument, and manufactured byproduct.  These coalesce into accumulations that express abstract notions of the confluence of memory, geography, and society.  The works in Improvised Structures all date from 2020 or later, including works from this year.  Among the works on display are wall reliefs, three-dimensional tableaux that combine multiple ceramic pieces, and garniture sets, for an examination, through repetition and rumination, of what the artist terms “the grand decorative object.”

An illustrated brochure for Improvised Structures will be available free of charge at the exhibit.  A pdf version of the catalogue will be available on the Museum website at, as will a link to a video walk-through tour of the exhibit that is being planned for inclusion on the College’s YouTube channel.

Most of the works on view in Improvised Structures are available for purchase directly from the artist.  A price list can be requested from the Museum attendant.

The concurrent exhibit, Elizabeth Catlett in the Hillstrom Museum of Art, considers African American artist Catlett (1915-2012) through works recently acquired by the Hillstrom Museum of Art and through new poetry by exhibition collaborator Philip S Bryant, a faculty member in the African/African Diaspora Studies Program and the English Department of Gustavus Adolphus College.

Catlett’s color linocut I Am the Black Woman (1946-1947) is featured in the exhibit.  In some ways the image is emblematic of the artist, considered by many to be the most significant Black female artist of her period.  The early years of her long career were spent in the US until she moved to Mexico in 1946, where she lived the rest of her life.  Catlett took her own culture as an African American woman as her primary subject matter, adding to it her adopted Mexican culture when she moved there, married Mexican artist Francisco Mora (1922-2002) and raised a family with him.

Catlett’s artworks and Bryant’s poetry are supplemented by paintings by Catlett’s contemporaries, African American artists Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) and Eldzier Cortor (1916-2015), lent by the Art Bridges Foundation.

Art Bridges is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton, also founder of the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States.

Art Bridges has also supplied a generous grant to produce a brochure for the exhibit (available to visitors at the Museum), to support outreach for the exhibition, and to support the visit to campus by Catlett scholar Melanie Herzog, who will present a lecture titled Elizabeth Catlett: Kinship.  Herzog’s lecture will be coupled with a reading of poetry by Philip S Bryant in a program on Sunday, February 26, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Wallenberg Auditorium, Nobel Hall, Gustavus Adolphus College.


In conjunction with the Catlett and Darcourt exhibits, students in the Dance Composition II class taught by Gustavus Adolphus College Theatre and Dance Department faculty member Jill Patterson will present a series of dance works choreographed in relation to and drawing from the works on view.

This dance program, titled Move/MEANT, will be performed in the Museum Tuesday, March 21, 2023, from 1:30 to 2:30 and again from 5:30 to 6:30.

More information about the Hillstrom Museum of Art and its offerings can be found on its website at:

Regular Museum hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and weekends from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  All exhibitions and related programming are free and open to the public.

Photo gallery image named: darcourt-poster-final-jpeg.jpgPhoto gallery image named: catlett-poster-jpeg.jpg
Additional Times