From Van Gogh to Bob Dylan; from Op Art to Sculpture to Holograms…and he’s just getting started!

The Butler Institute – a True Treasure

(Blog courtesy of Dr. Louis Zona, Executive Director, Butler Institute of American Art)  

If you’ve wondered who the Bob Dylan is that is being featured at The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown…it’s actDylan-206x300ually him. I first saw an example of his artistic talents when I purchased his album “Self Portrait” way back in 1970 which featured an expressionistically painted self-portrait on the cover. Here it is so many years later that we are welcoming a collection of his portrait paintings to Youngstown. What a treat to see another side of a genius. And, by the way, they’re all pastel paintings, perhaps the most difficult artistic medium to control…but not to worry…he controls it! Don’t miss the exhibit which runs from May 17 through July 12.

But Anuszkiewicz-Bisected-Red-Violet-300x250you also have to see in an adjacent Butler gallery the magnificent optical paintings of America’s “Op” master, Richard Anuszkiewicz, in an exhibit sponsored by our own Mahoning County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. A friend of mine describes his art as a “beautiful assault on the retina”!

This is actually a perfect time to visit the Butler since so much is happening this spring. Take for instance the display of a Van Gogh painting In The Dunes on loan from a private collection. Vincent Van Gogh is perhaps the most famous artist in history and his influence on American Art can be seen by simply walking through the galleries of the Butler Institute  (which, by the way, houses three centuries of American Art masterpieces including Winslow Homer’s Snap The Whip which is included in the book 1000 Things To See Before You Die).

QueenA most exciting addition to The Butler Experience is the recent inclusion of a monumental 33SnapTheWhipsculpture of Queen Catherine Of Portugal (the queen that Queens New York is named for). The plaster sculpture weighing 1700 pounds standing 13 feet tall is the work of the legendary American painter/sculptor Audrey Flack. Adding mystery to this impressive art work is the fact that the queen holds a LED globe which is illuminated differently every single day.

Not far from the queen sculpture is a room of mind boggling holograms by America’s premier holographer, Anna Maria Nicholson. When I tell you that Tony Bennett appears to be standing in front of you singing your favorite song…I’m not fibbing…he’s right there, and so are about 35 other holographic celebrities. And as you leave the hologram gallery, get ready to laugh at a video presentation by the funniest man in the world of art William Wegman and his amazing Weimaraners .



After 10 minutes of laughter it’s time to walk to the other side of the building and across the newly created Sky Walk bridge to Butler North to view a century of 19th century fashions on the dolls of the West Virginia designer and legend, Pete Ballard. Other galleries feature the Butler’s folk art collection including carousel horses and duck decoys spanning two centuries.

And, I’m just getting started…tons of stuff to see and gee did I mention a life sized Clydesdale painted with auto enamel and the most impressive portrait of Abe Lincoln ever painted. The Butler’s been called “America’s Museum”, come and see why!

One Comment

  1. Donna Karas April 30, 2015 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    I have loved the Butler from the first time I walked in the doors in 1967.

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