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 Rita Blitt  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: Kansas      Known for: sculpture, painting, film maker

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Rita Lea Blitt was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1931.  At age 10 and again at age 11 Blitt won a scholarship for Saturday classes at the Kansas City Art Institute.  She attended the University of Illinois and graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City in 1952 with a Bachelor in Arts.  In 1953 and 1955 she again attended the Kansas City Art Institute where she studied painting under instructor Wilbur Niewald who became "a very important influence on her work and life".  Her first solo exhibition was in 1959 at Scott's Frames and Gallery, Kansas City, Mo.  Britt's first New York exhibit, "Orblitts" was held March 11-29, 1969 at Spectrum Gallery, New York, NY.  She has since had at least 69 solo exhibitions and participated in large numbers of group shows.  In 2006, the entire Jacquelyn Casey Hudgens Museum and Art Center in Duluth, Georgia, suburban Atlanta, was devoted to a retrospective of Blitt’s work.

Rita Blitt has installed over 45 monumental sculptures up to 60 feet in height.  Her works have been shown and installed in Australia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States.  Commenting  on Blitt’s work in a 2003 NYC exhibition David Cleveland reviewer and novelist wrote, “Translating intimate gesture of line…Blitt has created sculptures which invoke her signature sensuous curves and ethereal harmonies of form, mirroring in compelling ways the human figure in motion.”  Blitt’s signature sculpture Inspiration (Sensuously Stacked Steel) a five foot stainless steel sculpture, won a 5th prize in Italy’s 2005 Florence Biennale.  In 2010, Rita Blitt received the UMKC Alumnus Spotlight Award, recognizing the regional and national attention her work has garnered for the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Kansas City community. Also that year Blitt was featured in The View published by the Kansas City Art Institute.

Blitt’s passion crosses many genres.  She has forged partnerships with The Parsons Dance Company and the Sante Fe Ballet.  She has created a number of films, the most celebrated titled  "Caught in Paint", was produced in 2003.  Blitt collaborated with choreographer David Parsons and photographer Lois Greenfield to create this six-minute improv film. The film has won sixteen awards including the award for Documentary Short in Golden Star’s 2006 Film Festival in Hollywood.  It has been accepted in over 130 film festivals, and was shown in 2008 by Moving Pictures Magazine at the Cannes Film Festival.  Other films include: Flag, Rita Blitt, 1976; Dancing Hands, Caught In Nature, Visual Rhythms, Blur. Workshops follow showing of Blitt's films to encourage everyone to create.  The Visual Rhythms workshop for dancers combines improvisational dance with spontaneous drawing.  Blitt has presented dance workshops at Texas A and M University; University of Florida, Gainesville; and Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, California.  RAM Publications with Brandeis University published her book, Rita Blitt: The Passionate Gesture, in 2000, which traces Blitt’s development as an artist.  Blitt also authored  Reaching Out From Within, and has written for many magazines, journals and newspapers across the country.

Rita Blitt's work is represented in many museums including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada; Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, Missouri; John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts; Spertus Museum, Chicago; Kansas City Children’s Museum; Kennedy Museum of American Art, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio; National Museum, Singapore; and the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

Rita Blitt's works are also represented in many corporate and private collections in the US and worldwide.  Her work celebrates her love of nature, music, dance and the spontaneous flow of movement captured in the drawn gesture.  Her drawings and paintings, which sometimes become sculpture, are often created with two hands at once.  She says, “when those lines come from my hands…I feel like I am dancing.” Blitt takes great pleasure in sharing her work through exhibitions, workshops and films.  The Rita Blitt Foundation has been formed to further these projects.

Blitt maintains studios in Emeryville, California, Aspen, Colorado, and Leawood, Kansas.

Marion Meyer Gallery, Laguna Beach, Ca.
Wildsound feedback film festivals.
Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara
KCAI Alumni Blogs
News Magazine of the Univ of Missouri K.C.

Information provided by Scott Wilder

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