June 21 – September 7, 2003
Presented in conjunction with the major touring exhibition Big Idea: The Maquettes of Robert Arneson, this exhibition featured the less well-known prints of this pre-eminent California ceramic sculptor and master draftsman. Robert Arneson (1930–1992) transformed American ceramic practice through his integration of sculpture and painting. As presented in this intimate exhibition featuring ten works from the Smart Museum's collection, Arneson's prints frequently reflect imagery and themes that are central features of his sculptural pieces. For example, "Brick Suite" (1975)—comprised of four color etchings and lithographs, each depicting a lone brick in states of wholeness and decay—refers not only to Arneson's all-important activity as a sculptor of clay but also acts as a metaphorical image of the artist himself. Works such as his 1980 and 1981 color lithographs present larger-than-life self-portraits, each featuring expressively distorted facial features that as two-dimensional images recall Arneson's inventive, often satirical, sculptures that comment on contemporary American society and on the artist's sense of his own identity and art world persona.
Curator: Richard A. Born, Smart Museum Senior Curator.
Presented in the Joel and Carole Bernstein Gallery.