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Arts & Entertainment, Campus Events, General Information

Under the Big Top: LSU Museum of Art Brings the Circus to Town with Holiday Exhibition

10/17/2011 11:28 AM

BATON ROUGE – Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, step right up to the LSU Museum of Art’s spectacular holiday exhibition, "Under the Big Top!" Come to the LSU Museum of Art and step under the big top, where the line between fantasy and reality is blurred.


The LSU Museum of Art, located on the fifth floor of the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge, will display "Under the Big Top" throughout the holiday season, opening to the public on Tuesday, Oct. 25, and running through Saturday, Dec. 31. This fanciful exhibition highlights the magic and timelessness of the circus through the museum’s spectacular collection of toys and fine art. There will be a holiday reception in the Museum of Art on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 6 – 8 p.m. to celebrate the exhibition’s opening.


Come to view the exhibit and see ferocious stuffed animals and amazing antique toys. Nostalgia will fill the air as colorful circus wagons and trains full of exotic animals roll into the gallery space. The spectacle of dozens of antique toys from the museum’s permanent collection and items on loan from a private collection will bring amazement and delight to all.


Mike the Tiger will no longer be the only majestically striped beauty in town! Be thrilled by a large, plush toy tiger, circa 1930, produced by the highly celebrated German-based toy company, Steiff. See a music box featuring an organ grinder monkey and a mélange of hollow-cast lead toy animals from the mid-20th century. 


Enjoy exciting works of art. The visual excitement that accompanies the circus has intrigued artists for centuries. Exotic animals march into the ring in a graphic watercolor painting by Newcomb Pottery artist Cecile Owen. View artworks that depict circus characters, including a 19th-century drawing of acrobatic figures by English illustrator John Leech. An abstraction of a juggler throwing balls by Caroline Durieux, a native New Orleanian and former LSU professor, will take your breath away.


Be amazed by historic posters and photographs. "Under the Big Top" features a display of circus images from a private collection. See vibrant and whimsical circus posters, including one depicting Betty Lou of the Cole Brothers Circus. Betty Lou, a chimpanzee, starred in the popular Tarzan films and later became a circus animal. Archival photographs of dancers, acrobats and clowns in the 1930s circus era will provide an exclusive look at the private, behind-the-scenes world of the circus.


Continue the heartwarming tradition. The LSU Museum of Art has showcased vintage and antique toys during the holiday season since the1960s. The museum will participate in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program in conjunction with the holiday show. During November and December, the Museum will collect new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to needy children within the greater Baton Rouge area. To share the joy of the season, bring a new toy with you when you visit "Under the Big Top" at the LSU Museum of Art.


Step right up, step right up, the circus is about to begin!

LSU Media Relations