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Mark Grote brings giant hat exhibit to Loyola

Loyola press release - June 13, 2011

Visual arts professor W. Mark Grote brings his exhibit of giant hats inspired by 15th century paintings of Piero Della Francesca to Loyola University New Orleans this summer. “The Hats of Piero Della Francesca” are displayed in Dixon Court, located at the St. Charles Avenue entrance of the Communications/Music Complex.

An artist’s reception will be held Thursday, July 28 from 5 – 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Grote gained initial inspiration for the project while on a Fulbright Fellowship in Italy in 1992. While there, he visited the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy where he saw Francesca’s “Story of the True Cross” motif and was struck by Francesca’s usage of hats throughout the work. It wasn’t until 15 years later that he was able to research the hats more fully and bring an idea for a sculptural exhibit to fruition.

In 2007, Grote was accepted into the artists and scholars program at the American Academy in Rome. During his time, he researched and visited museums that contained Francesca’s motifs. “After spending this time in Rome, I based myself in Cortona and visited Arezzo almost daily to gather the information needed to construct the sculptures,” said Grote. The next spring, he began work on the sculptures in his studio in Covington with the help of an Atlas Grant given by the Louisiana Board of Regents.

This project is not Grote’s first hat-based sculptural work. “I study hats from countries such as Japan, Korea and Africa and have collected several Yoruba and Kuba hats from Africa throughout the years,” he said. “The hat has become a conscious field of inquiry in my research and studio work.”

For more information, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Public Affairs Office at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.