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Tuesday, April 24, 2018 to Sunday, December 16, 2018


Smart Museum of Art


Free, open to all.

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Smart Museum of Art


The first iteration in a three-part exhibition series, Expanding Narratives uses the formal relationship between the figure and the ground in art history as a conceptual springboard into discussions around visual representation, the museum space, and the role the Smart Museum’s collection plays in fostering the exchange of diverse perspectives.

The exhibition tells a familiar story of aesthetic progress—from naturalism to abstraction to a plurality of contemporary art practices across media—but gives pride of place to the work of women and people of color. It is presented in a dramatically reconfigured museum space and combines beloved works from the Smart’s collection with key loans from University of Chicago alumni and Chicago-area collectors.

Exhibition includes works by Kevin Beasley, McArthur Binion, Gustave Caillebotte, Jim Campbell, Nick Cave, Paul Delvaux, Dan Flavin, Sam Gilliam, Jeppe Hein, Rashid Johnson, Lee Krasner, Kerry James Marshall, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Trevor Paglen, Mark Rothko, Cindy Sherman, Sylvia Sleigh, Kara Walker, Jack Whitten, and Kehinde Wiley, among others.

Alison Gass, Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum, in collaboration with Jennifer Carty, Smart Museum Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Support for Expanding Narratives: The Figure and the Ground has been provided by Mary Smart and the Smart Family Foundation of New York and by the Smart Museum’s Pamela and R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric Exhibition Fund. Additional support has been provided by the Museum’s SmartPartners.

Presented in the Elisabeth and William M. Landes Gallery and the Richard and Mary L. Gray Gallery

Kerry James Marshall, Slow Dance, 1992-1993, Mixed media and acrylic on canvas. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Purchase, Smart Family Foundation Fund for Contemporary Art and Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions, 2004.23. Art © Kerry James Marshall.