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The Pinocchio artwork came about when Jim Dine’s manager received a job as a producer at Disney and asked Dine to create artwork for his office.

Photo courtesy of: Jim Dine Studio


Jim Dine is world-renowned for giving his own take on iconic images.

Photo courtesy of: Jim Dine Studio

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Artist and alumnus Jim Dine returning to campus

Bringing a summer exhibit and celebrating the College of Fine Arts anniversary

This article originally appeared in Compass on March 16, 2011. Jim Dine's exhibit, "Jim Dine: Sculpture and Large Prints" opens July 8 at Kennedy Museum of Art with tickets available for a preview on July 7.

This summer an exhibit will be coming to Kennedy Museum of Art that should spark high interest. Jim Dine, a world-renowned artist and Ohio University alumnus, is bringing an exhibit to Athens.

“This is a very big deal,” said Petra Kralickova, the curator at Kennedy. “He is the master artist that every art history book and art book has him in and his coming from Ohio University is a big deal.”

Dine’s exhibit in Athens aligns with the upcoming celebration of the College of Fine Arts 75th anniversary, from which he earned his BFA in 1957.

For those who have not taken an art history class, Dine became a big name in the art world in the early 1960s when he had work in the show “New Painting of Common Objects” with Pop Art artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

However, unlike these artists, Dine’s style isn’t defined by the medium used or a type of brushstroke with which he paints, instead it can be seen through the iconic subjects that he features in his work.

“It’s iconic in the sense that it’s an image of its own and then he makes it his own,” said Kralickova. “He doesn’t have a certain style in terms of maybe painting or putting things together, but he has an image that represents him and that in a sense becomes a certain style.”

These iconic images that Dine uses are the heart, which has been in his work since the 1960s, a headless Venus de Milo (which came to be when his figurine of the Venus de Milo lost its head), and now Pinocchio.

According to Petra, the Pinocchio artwork came about when Dine’s manager received a job as a producer at Disney and asked Dine to create artwork for his office. Dine, an avid collector, had a Pinocchio statue on his desk and made a painting of it.

Now Dine has made Pinocchio statues that stand from several inches tall to 30-feet tall. And of course, almost all of the statues are made out of wood.

Along with Pinocchio, Venus works, heart pieces, Dine’s iconic robe prints, and tool artworks, inspired by his childhood spent in his grandfather’s tool shop, will be shown. There will be 12 sculptures and 20 prints in the exhibit. 

“He’s a very straightforward artist where he doesn’t really start with, say, an emotion, like ‘I’m going to build sadness, or I’m going to build love.’ He stays away from all of that and just kind of trusts that he will build his emotion into it,” said Kralickova. “As some artists try to portray something, he’s literally just working with the image and working as a sculptor and seeing where it takes him.”

There is something beautiful and sometimes dark about his translation of an image like Pinocchio, who has been traditionally seen in the United States as playful. His prints of robes have life despite not having a body and his hearts are given deeper meaning through their context and texture. His work is interesting, inspiring, and famous.

The exhibit opening reception will be on July 7and will run through Nov. 27. Dine will not be in Athens for the opening ceremony but will come to give a lecture at the College of Fine Arts' 75th Anniversary Celebration.