Human Animals: The Art of Cobra

Exhibition Website

Sep 15 2016 - Nov 20 2016

Part of NSU Art Museum’s Regeneration Exhibition Series, and featuring works from its Golda and Meyer Marks Cobra Collection, the largest Cobra art collection in America, this exhibition explores Cobra artists’ innovative use of animal images and how they expressed elements of popular visual culture.

Cobra, an interdisciplinary European avant-garde movement named after its artists’ home cities (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) emerged in response to the destruction of World War II and was active from 1948-1951. The exhibition reveals how animal imagery in Cobra art critiques ideas about human and collective cultures, especially those relating to the animalistic, instinctual, or “primitive,” offering a new perspective on an influential, but relatively unknown European art development whose significance to modern art in America and Europe is just beginning to be explored and understood.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether you go or not, The Avant-Garde Won't Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy is the definitive book on the renowned postwar avant-garde artistic movement offers a comprehensive insight into Cobra's history and achievements, and explores its lasting influences on contemporary art. The influential group of painters and sculptors had a tremendous impact on the development of European Abstract Expressionism, and contemporary art in general. Cobra was arguably the last avant-garde movement of the 20th century. Moving chronologically, this book explores the years leading up to Cobra's formation, charts its expansion over a decade, and illuminates how the movement helped shape the trajectory of contemporary art today. Integrated among the numerous images, many presented as full-page color illustrations, are essays probing the ideological rejection of rational constraints, the focus on play and youthfulness, and the embrace of immediacy, particularly in the form of "action" paintings. In addition, biographies of the artists illuminate crucial aspects of each individual's journey, expanding readers' understanding of Europe's socio-political and theoretical climate.

  • European
  • 20th Century
  • Various artists

Exhibition Venues & Dates