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'Many Ways to Read a Map: Work by Bill Rowe' Opens Oct. 8


JONESBORO – “Many Ways to Read a Map,” an exhibition of neon and found object artwork by Bill Rowe, opens at the Arkansas State University Bradbury Art Museum (BAM) on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 5 p.m.  Inspired by his travels in Arkansas, Rowe presents work that is humorous, thoughtful and provocative.

Working primarily in clay and neon, creating pottery and sculpture, Rowe has been included in well over 400 regional, national and international exhibitions.

This show features the powerful and challenging piece “Blood in their Eyes,” a neon wall work inspired by one of the most violent racial encounters in Arkansas history.  The artwork derives its title from Grif Stockley’s  non-fictional account of this dreadful event.  His book details the horrific and largely overlooked story of the history of the Elaine, Arkansas massacre of 1919. According to Stockley, a lawyer, author and longtime scholar of these riots, “The Elaine massacre was by far the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history and possibly the bloodiest racial conflict in the history of the United States.” 

Also included in the exhibition are far less difficult, more comical yet thought-provoking works, such as those which make reference to the sights, signs and situations Rowe has found in his travels throughout Arkansas and across the country.

He received his Bachelor of Arts from Millersville State University after studying at Franklin and Marshall College, both in Pennsylvania.  He went on to earn a master of fine arts from the University of Nebraska.

A longtime faculty member at A-State, he has also taught at University of Nebraska, the New School for Social Research in New York City and the University of Delaware.

Rowe co-produced the documentary, “Why Only Killen” about the 1964 Philadelphia, Miss., murders of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Cheney. Filming and editing were performed at Mojo Studio owned and operated by Rowe. The film is now part of the Mississippi Freedom Project at University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

His work is represented by The Schroeder Romero Gallery, Schroeder Romero Editions and 1st Dibs, all in New York City.  His artwork has been featured in numerous catalogs and publications including the New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Art Papers, New Art, Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives, A Century of Achievement, Kunst in Werk, among others.

Examples of Rowe’s work can also be seen in the 2015 Faculty Biennial which includes painting, sculpture, prints, installation, video and more from faculty members of the A-State Department of Art.   Both exhibitions will run simultaneously and close on Nov. 11.

A talk by the artist is scheduled at BAM for Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. in the Bradbury Art Museum.  The public is invited.

Bradbury Art Museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and by appointment.  The museum is closed on Mondays. 

Both exhibitions and the reception are admission-free and open to the public.  For more details, one may call BAM at 870-972-3471, email bradburyartmuseum@astate.edu, or visit BradburyArtMuseum.org.

Art by Bill Rowe