The Black Figure in the European Imaginary
January 14–May 14, 2017
This exhibition considers the manner in which the visual arts of Europe imagined black people during the long nineteenth century (ca. 1750-1914). As part of an expanding cultural fascination with Africa and the “Orient,” images of blacks proliferated in various media and different contexts across the European continent, prompted by contact through colonialism, imperialism, and slavery. Yet, as well-intentioned as many of these images surely were, they function in a complex matrix of racialized ideologies. Even when based on direct observation and technically realistic, this imagery often reveals undercurrents of objectification, a celebration of servitude, a fetishization of black sexuality, and hierarchical attitudes about race and culture that satisfied European imaginings about exoticism, beauty, sexuality, and racial difference. It is precisely the multifaceted, nuanced, and often vexed relationship between European artists and the black figure that The Black Figure in the European Imaginary seeks to examine.
Curated by Adrienne L. Childs, Ph.D., Associate of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University and Susan H. Libby, Ph.D., Professor of Art History, Rollins College. This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the museum and D. Giles Ltd, available for purchase in the museum gift shop.
Reframing the Picture, Reclaiming the Past
January 14–April 2, 2017
Curated by Rollins College Art History Professor Susan H. Libby, Ph.D. and her students, this exhibition of modern and contemporary art depicts the black body as part of an ongoing conversation in which the contemporary works “talk back”, so to speak, with the historic works presented in The Black Figure in the European Imaginary.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum Winter/Spring 2017 Exhibitions and Programming
Sandy Todd, Cornell Fine Arts Museum 407.646.1595 /firstname.lastname@example.org
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