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Visiting artists Willie Cole and Loren Madsen will give lectures this month in room 108 of the Williams Center for the Arts. The events are free and open to the public.

Cole’s talk will take place 4:30 p.m. today, followed by an open artist’s reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery of Lafayette’s Williams Visual Arts Building, 243 North 3rd St. Madsen will deliver his lecture 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Elegba Principle, an installation by Cole, is being exhibited through Feb. 22 in the Grossman Gallery. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Based on the Yoruba guardian of the crossroads, The Elegba Principle is a maze of doors salvaged from old buildings, with single words painted on them. The doors rotate on vertical poles as the viewer selects one to enter. Cole originally fashioned the installation for the Capp Street Project in San Francisco in 1995 and has recreated it several times since then.

“Cole is increasingly matching material and emotional subtlety to conceptual ambition,” states The New York Times. Cole’s works are in the permanent collections of many museums, including Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Philadelphia Musuem of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, and National Gallery of Art.

Cole received the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship this year. He has served as artist-in-residence with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Program, Sheboygan, Wis., 2000; Capp Street Project, San Francisco, Calif., 1995; Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, Wash., and The Contemporary, Baltimore, Md., 1994; and The Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y., 1989.

He also served a residency in Bahia, Brazil, in 1999, won the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in 1996, and earned a Louis Tiffany Comfort Foundation Grant in 1995, a Wheeler Foundation Grant in 1994, a Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1991, and a Rutgers Center for Innovative Printmaking Fellowship in 1991.

Madsen’s artwork is in the collections of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; L.A. County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Vancouver Museum of Art, Vancouver, Canada; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minn.

“His works are actually multi-dimensional graphs plotting complex historical trends such as cost-of-living indexes, public opinion polls, and homicide and execution rates,” notes San Diego Museum of Art. “Madsen presents works modeling information about important changes in contemporary life in the United States. By giving concrete, compelling form to the information we are accustomed to receiving as dry numbers and percentages, Madsen challenges us to visualize and understand broad social developments in new ways.”

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