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Alumna Profile - Jocelyn Krueger - MFA, painting (2013)


Only a few of weeks into the job, the new curator of the Indiana State University Permanent Art Collection prepared one of its most valuable pieces for a bon voyage.

Jocelyn Krueger, a 2013 Master of Fine Arts graduate, departed for Marseille, France, in May with Smoke Stacks, an oil painting on canvas made by Joseph Stella in 1935. It is part of the “FUTURS: De la Ville aux Étoiles” exhibit, running May through October, that explores ways science, industry and technology inspired modern artists.

Packaged in a special waterproof crate, the Stella piece — valued as much as $1.5 million — was accompanied by Krueger through the backdoors of customs areas.

“At first, it sounded like I was going to have to sleep in the warehouse with the painting, but they have security and staff for it (at night),” she said. “I still have to get up early and stay late to make sure it’s handled and hung properly.”

Sorting out what should be in the Permanent Art Collection, which includes two-dimensional art, as well as ceramics and sculptures, is another challenge for Krueger, as the collection has a “long and varied history” of how pieces were introduced.

“What I’m going to enjoy the most is seeing the collection grow and develop into something that reflects the strengths on campus,” she said.  

Krueger grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and worked with foil imaging while pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa. Because of the expense of the material, she switched to a walnut-ink medium that she makes by herself. Today, she enjoys using ink and paper because of its fluidity, which can also become a metaphor for her content.

Krueger’s work often focuses on the interaction between two people, and her thesis project focused on images of one person saving another from drowning — a reflection on the human condition.

“We rely on one another, even if we don’t know it, and our actions can seem to be harmful or harmless, depending on our perspective, and we must sometimes put ourselves in danger in order to help others,” she said.

Debt is another subject of interest for Krueger, who once wrote a check for each country’s debt and mailed it to them to become the most indebted person in world. Her Idebtity series started about 10 years ago to explore the different aspects of how debt can shape one’s identity.