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States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux

August 29 – December 16, 2018
Tisch Family Gallery and Koppelman Gallery

At a moment when what constitutes the human body is under renewed scrutiny—by science, law, and political discourse—artists are readdressing the figure in ever-new and surprising ways. States of Freedomoffers a trans-historical glimpse into select practices, from the past to the present, in which the body appears fragmented, flattened, or collaged. In these works, artists from a range of vantage points address the impossibility of representing the human subject in total. Arriving on the heels of the bicentennial of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, this exhibition reminds us that the question "What is human?" has endured and will likely continue to do so for centuries to come.

States of Freedom begins with the ancient paradox of the Ship of Theseus—presented in a 16th-century edition of Plutarch's Parallel Lives—which ponders the nature of identity through an object whose parts have been progressively replaced, asking whether the recreation can be the thing itself. From there, the galleries feature works that celebrate the human form as an unstable amalgamation of histories, technologies, and cultures. While the artworks on view span close to a millennium, the works made from the mid-20th century to now are rooted in a broad arc of thinking from postmodernism's "collaged" subjectivity to the ever-blurring line between the human and machine, to the sudden need to reaffirm the queer subject in the face of renewed discriminatory policies.

States of Freedom features work from the University's Library and Permanent Art Collections alongside sculpture, video, and paintings by contemporary artists Derrick Adams, A. K. Burns, Kate Costello, Harry Dodge, Anna K.E., Lucy Kim, Kiki Kogelnik, Maria Lassnig, Karen C. Moss, Jeanine Oleson, Lorna Simpson, and Alexandria Smith.

States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux is organized by Dina Deitsch, Director and Chief Curator, with Chiara Pidatella, Academic Research Curator, and Elizabeth Kendrick, AG19.


Exhibition-related public programs [ Full calendar ]
All programs are located in the galleries and are open and free to all

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2018
5:30-7:30pm
Tisch Family Gallery and Koppelman Gallery
Opening Reception

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2018
6:00-8:00pm
Tisch Family Gallery
Workshop: Body Part Casting
Join Kendall Reiss and Tanya Crane, professors of the practice in Sculpture, to explore the 3D art-making potential of alginate, a molding material derived from alginic acid found in seaweed, which is often used to make dental impressions. Participants will use the mold to create a cast of a fragmented body part in colored plastic.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2018
11:00am
Tisch Family Gallery
Gallery Tour: Dina Deitsch, Director

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2018
10:30am-8:30pm
Tisch Family Gallery
Frankenreads in the Gallery
As part of an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the Galleries will co-host a marathon reading of the novel in the midst of the exhibition States of Freedom, providing a multisensory opportunity to grapple with what it means to be human. In collaboration with the English Department and supported by the Toupin-Bolwell Fund.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2018
6:00-8:00pm
Tisch Family Gallery
Drawing in the Gallery
Join Patrick Carter, lecturer in Studio Art, for a stress-free evening sketching from a live, nude model, surrounded and inspired by the fragmented and hybrid figures in States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux. No drawing experience necessary.