Exhibition | Classicisms
Tommaso Gherardini, Classical Relief (detail), 1765, oil on canvas (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, Gift of the Collection of Edward A. and Inge Maser, 2008.23).
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From the Smart Museum of Art:
Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 16 February — 11 June 2017
Curated by Larry Norman and Anne Leonard
Classicism, as an aesthetic ideal, is often associated with a conventional set of rules founded on supposedly timeless notions such as order, reason, and decorum. As a result, it can be understood as rigid, outdated, or stodgy. But classicism is actually far from a stable concept—throughout history, it has given rise to more debate than consensus, and at times has been put to use for subversive ends.
Organized by the Smart Museum of Art and informed by an interdisciplinary planning process involving faculty members from across the University of Chicago, Classicisms explodes the idea of classicism as an unchanging ideal. The exhibition features 70 objects spanning diverse genres, eras, and media—paintings, ancient and modern sculpture, cast plaster replicas, and works on paper. Together with a scholarly catalogue, the exhibition traces classicism’s meanings across the centuries from varying artistic, cultural, and ideological perspectives to reveal a multifaceted concept with a complicated history.
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Distributed by The University of Chicago Press:
Larry F. Norman and Anne Leonard, ed., Classicisms (Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 2017), 184 pages, ISBN: 978 0935 573572, $30. With essays by Richard T. Neer, Susanna Caviglia, Andrei Pop, Frederick A. de Armas, Benjamin Morgan, Jennifer Wild, Rebecca Zorach, and Glenn W. Most; and other contributions from Rainbow Porthé, Ji Gao, Esther Van Dyke, Caitlin Hoff, Rebecca Crisafulli, and James Nemiroff.
This volume explodes the idea of classicism as an unchanging ideal. Through essays and other contributions from an interdisciplinary group of scholars, it traces the shifting parameters of classicism from antiquity to the twentieth century, documenting an exhibition of seventy objects in various media from the collection of the Smart Museum of Art and other American and international institutions. With its impressive historical and conceptual reach—from ancient literature to contemporary race relations and beyond—this colorfully illustrated book is a dynamic exploration of classicism as a fluctuating stylistic and ideological category.