Go Figure

June 30 – September 4, 2011

The human form has endured as a powerful subject throughout the history of art. This episodic exhibition illustrates pivotal moments in figurative art of the last sixty years through the work of nine exceptional artists: Nick Cave, Leon Golub, Yun-Fei Ji, Kerry James Marshall, Christina Ramberg, Martín Ramírez, Ravinder Reddy, Clare Rojas, and Sylvia Sleigh. 

Despite their varied approaches to media and subject, these artists are bound by their sustained engagement with the human figure and by their use of pattern as a visual strategy to enhance, entice, or complicate our viewing experience. Go Figure brings together exemplary paintings, drawings, and sculpture from the Smart Museum and other collections throughout Chicago. Together, these works explore issues of identity, personal history, and social change and, in doing so, reveal the versatile capacity of art to capture the diversity and complexity of contemporary human experience.

Videos

Video: Sylvia Sleigh tells the story behind her iconic nude painting The Turkish Bath


The exhibition is accompanied by a series of video clips showcasing exhibiting artists Nick Cave, Leon Golub, Yun-Fei Ji, Kerry James Marshall, Ravinder Reddy, Clare Rojas, and Sylvia Sleigh. In the videos the artists discuss the human figure, artistic process, materials, and the role of art in our world.

Browse all the videos below. They'll also be available on iPads alongside the respective works in Go Figure.

Nick Cave Inspiration

Nick Cave / Materials
 

Nick Cave Inspiration

Nick Cave / Inspiration
 

Nick Cave Performance

Nick Cave / Performance
 

Nick Cave Smart Performance

Nick Cave / Smart Soundsuit Performance

Leon Golub Process

Leon Golub / Process
 

Leon Golub Figuration and Monsters

Leon Golub / Figuration and Monsters

Yun-Fei Ji Background

Yun-Fei Ji / Background
 

Yun-Fei Ji Right to Left

Yun-Fei Ji / Right to Left
 

Kerry James Marshall Biography

Kerry James Marshall / Biography

Kerry James Marshall Black Figures

Kerry James Marshall / Black Figures

Kerry James Marshall Slow Dance

Kerry James Marshall / Slow Dance

Ravinder Reddy Process

Ravinder Reddy / Process
 

Ravinder Reddy Girija

Ravinder Reddy / Girija
 

Clare Rojas Everything's connected

Clare Rojas / Everything's Connected
 

Peggy Honeywell

Clare Rojas / Peggy Honeywell
 

Clare Rojas Quilts

Clare Rojas / Quilts
 

Sylvia Sleigh Portraits

Sylvia Sleigh / Portraits
 

Sylvia Sleigh Equality

Sylvia Sleigh / Equality
 

Sylvia Sleigh The Turkish Bath

Sylvia Sleigh / The Turkish Bath
 

Curator

Jessica Moss, Smart Museum Associate Curator of Contemporary Art.

Support

This exhibition is supported by the Smart Family Foundation.

Presented in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Gallery for Special Exhibitions.

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