Since Paleolithic peoples carved female fertility symbols from stone, we have been fascinated by our own image, and are driven to represent that form in art. Self-representation helped our ancestors create meaning in a dangerous, unknown world, and artists today use the human form to communicate desires, ideologies, and individual and cultural experiences.
These primarily American and European paintings, sculptures, photographs and works on paper, drawn from the museum’s modern and contemporary collection, focus on the human figure in classically inspired works as well as personal and experimental pieces that challenge viewers’ preconceptions. See works by such artists as Robert Arneson, Elmer Bischoff, Robert Colescott, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vik Muniz, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, and Tom Wesselmann that deal with themes such as religion and spirituality, identity, gender, and politics.
This was the final collection-based exhibition organized by Curator of Contemporary Art James Jensen, who sadly passed away in April. His knowledge of the collection, attention to detail, and dedication to the museum will never be forgotten.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website