WAUSAU — An exhibition of artwork by the world-renowned father of the op art movement opens at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Dec. 1.

“Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master,” an exhibition from the collection of Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, comprises more than 150 serigraphs, lithographs, and gouache paintings.

Victor Vasarely, Xico 4 (from the portfolio Xico), 1973, serigraph, from the collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece. Photo courtesy Woodson Art Museum.

Vasarely’s innovative use of optical illusions became popular in the 1960s and 70s, when op art extended into everyday life via design, advertisements and architecture, according to the Woodson Art Musuem. With an “art for all” motto, he advocated for democratizing art by producing multiples and screen-prints and by integrating art into architecture and public spaces.

With a lasting impact on print, poster, and fabric design, Vasarely’s artwork will remain on view at the Woodson through Feb. 24.

Hands-on programs for all ages

Museum programs for all ages will bring to life themes, artistic styles and techniques from “Victor Vasarely: Op Art Master” and the museum’s collection exhibitions. Op art infused games and puzzles will be available in the galleries this winter. In Art Park, all ages explore kaleidoscopes, gears and puzzles.

Op art program highlights

Inspired by artwork on view, participants will design and make their own notecards, illustrations and more during Art 101: Op Art Exploration programs on Dec. 6, 5:30-7 p.m., and Dec. 19, 12:15-1 p.m.

During Art 101: Op Art Survey on Jan. 3, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Jan. 16, 12:15-1 p.m., explore the rise and fall of the op art movement of the 1960s and 70s with museum educator Catie Anderson.

During an Illusion Quilts Workshop on Jan. 12, 1-4 p.m., Pat Gaska, author of “Visual Illusion Quilts,” guides adult participants through patterns that create dimension and depth in quilts and the construction of a small block that may be the starting point for your next work of art. Fee: $35 for members; $50 for nonmembers. Supply list shared upon registration; call 715-845-7010 to register.

See Team USA Snow Sculptors at work creating Cool Cube Illusion, Jan. 19-20, Noon-5 p.m.

Learn more about visual perception – and interactions between the eye and mind – during programs presented by neuro-science and vision researchers in January and February.

  • Seeing & Not Seeing: Investigating the Foundations of Perception, Jan. 26, 1-2 p.m. Why do we often perceive things that don’t actually exist, while sometimes failing to perceive what is plainly in sight?
  • Art 101: Understanding the Art of Vision, Feb. 7, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Parts of the brain that help us see objects and connect them to what we believe them to be are referred to collectively as the visual brain. Increased visual multitasking and stress from digital technology are changing our visual brains, impacting our ability to interpret visual experiences such as optical illusion.

Art Beyond Sight, on Feb. 9, 10:30 a.m.-noon, is designed for people with low vision or blindness. Participants join museum educators for a multisensory exploration of the galleries followed by hands-on art making inspired by Vasarely. Call the museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During a family workshop, Mixed-Media Op Art Wall Sculpture, Feb. 16, 1-3 p.m., each family works together, using geometric shapes and colors and designing and applying layers to create a low-relief wall sculpture. Fee: $5 per family. Call 715-845-7010 to register.

The Woodson is at 700 N. 12th St., Wausau.

Photos courtesy Woodson Art Museum.