File this under Things That Don't Happen Enough: students examining local art history.
Earlier this week, Colette Richards of the UCCS Heller Center for Arts and Humanities contacted us about The Art of War, a student-curated exhibit of World War II propaganda posters and ads by Larry Heller.
Heller, whom the Indy profiled in detail back in 2002, was a prolific 20th-century artist who made his home in the bluffs near what is now UCCS. Heller possessed an intensely romantic, Hollywood style in his works, employing beautiful women, dynamic settings and rich, pretty colors. Which is not to say Heller's work lacked substance — his figure work and sense of nuance won many supporters.
But it wasn't exactly the most popular. In the early days, his contemporaries, like Boardman Robinson, stuck with a dour, more serious, social-realism approach. Post-WWII, abstract expressionism took the helm of American art. Through it all, Heller stayed true to his glamorous, glossy artistic center.
Which may be why Heller is a quieter player in Colorado Springs' art history. (Also, as Noel Black reported in the 2002 article, Heller wasn't a scene socialite, and held onto his artwork.) However, The Art of War is what Richards hopes to be the first of several upcoming shows that will "re-introduce both Larry and his wife Dorothy to the community."
The exhibit will be limited to two showings, one Wednesday, Jan. 25, and one Friday, Jan. 27, both from 3 to 5 p.m. On Wednesday, guest speaker Professor Barbara Headle will discuss "the significance of propaganda artwork."
These works by Heller, which have never been exhibited before, were made during his time as a propaganda artist for the Army Air Corps, an era in Heller's life seminal in the creation of his style. Here are a few examples from the show, courtesy of the Heller Center: