Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art

Ridgefield, CT



The Nude in Contemporary Art

June 6 - September 12, 1999


The Nude in Contemporary Art, which was curated by director Harry Philbrick with assistant director Richard Klein and assistant curator Jessica Hough, specifically focuses on how the human form -- a perennial art subject throughout history in painting, drawing, and sculpture -- has been re-interpreted by emerging and influential contemporary artists. The Nude in Contemporary Art will remain on view through September 12, 1999.

According to Harry Philbrick, the chief curator, "the exhibition is an opportunity to show how a really diverse group of artists from America, Europe, and Japan -- young and old, well known and not -- approach one of the oldest subjects in art: the nude. The exhibition confronts, from many points of view, aging, disease, birth, cultural norms, and the celebration of beauty. The exhibition also reminds us of the enormous challenge any artist faces in attempting to depict the human form." Some of the work in the exhibition may be considered deeply traditional in its furtherance of the practice of artists exploring issues of aesthetics, beauty, gender, and mortality through the depiction of the human form, but in all instances the work transcends convention. The exhibition includes painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture, as well as the newer media of holography, video, and installation.

Karen FinIey's Go Figure, an installation that consists of a life drawing class with a model and instructor, will be held on a regular basis during the run of the exhibition in Gallery Nine on the third Floor of the Museum. Newsprint pads and charcoal will be available for visitors who wish to participate in the class. Resultant drawings will be hung in the gallery as part of the Go Figure installation.

The exhibition will also include an off-site installation by Melanie Manchot. The curators plan to secure the use of a roughly 10' x 22' billboard for a nude portrait of the artist's mother, who appears in the foreground of a panoramic Swiss mountain range. The full photograph will be included in the exhibition at The Aldrich..

Of the many artists whose work was selected for The Nude in Contemporary Art, several -- such as Jacob Lawrence -- are not immediately associated with this subject matter. Tina Barney, an artist predominantly recognized for her large-scale portraits of family members in domestic settings, is represented in this exhibition by a series of nude portraits of models informally posed within domestic and business settings. Chuck Close will unveil examples from his latest body of work in which he has revisited this subject for the first time since the mid-eighties.

Images from top to bottom: Meg Cranston, The Average American, 1996, C-print, 70 1/2 x 37 inches, Courtesy Muse [X] Editions and Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica; Michael Leonard, Male Bather, 1989, alkyd on Masonite, 25 x 27 1/2 inches, Courtesy Forum Gallery, NY

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art is located in Ridgefield, CT, on Route 35, approximately one hour and ten minutes north of Manhattan. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday 12 noon to 5 pm; Friday 12 noon to 8 pm. Admission: $5 adults; $2 seniors and students; members and children under twelve free; Tuesday, free all day. (information as of 7/99)

Read more about the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Resource Library Magazine

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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