Renee Cox, American, born 1960. Chillin’ with Liberty, 1998. Archival digital print. 39 3/4 x 29 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture

January 31, 2021 - April 18, 2021

Hodge Gallery Henry Gallery

Posing Beauty in African American Culture explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts through a diverse range of media including photography, film, video, fashion, advertising, and other forms of popular culture such as music and the Internet. Throughout the Western history of art and image making, the relationship between beauty and art has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture. This exhibition challenges contemporary understanding of beauty by framing notions of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and politics.

The first of three thematic sections, “Constructing a Pose,” considers the interplay between the historical and the contemporary, between self-representation and imposed representation, and the relationship between subject and photographer. The second section, “Body and Image,” questions the ways in which our contemporary understanding of beauty has been constructed and framed through the body. The last section, “Modeling Beauty & Beauty Contests,” invites us to reflect upon the ambiguities of beauty, its impact on mass culture and individuals, and how the display of beauty affects the ways in which we see and interpret the world and ourselves.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture is curated by Deborah Willis and organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California. 

Please visit our lectures page for information on a related virtual lecture.

Jack Willson Thompson Fund and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Program Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint

Jack Willson Thompson Fund
and the Truth, Racial Healing,
and Transformation Program
Fund of the Community
Foundation of Greater Flint

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chameckilerner (Rosane Chamecki and Andrea Lerner), Brazilian. Eskasizer–Jennifer, Sally, Hillary, and Gabri, 2014 . 4:22 minutes. Courtesy of the artists.

Eskasizer - Jennifer, Sally, Hillary & Gabri

February 1, 2021 - February 28, 2021

In the 1950s the Eskasizer belt machine came out as one of the first electric machines that promised to firm women’s bodies. In Eskasizer–Jennifer, Sally, Hillary, and Gabri, choreographers and video artists Andrea Lerner and Rosane Chamecki present four women, each with a different body shape, age, and background. They move in repetitive, and yet, unpredictable ways, reflecting the constant force of the machine that manipulates their bodies. The work is a collection of extreme slow-motion takes, in which the camera is zoomed in to the point that the women’s identity gradually blurs into abstraction. Their bodies are not acting on their own impulses and desires. Instead, they are passive—with their hips, knees, and legs yielding to the external forces.

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Robert Arrington, American, born 1950. Self-Portrait, 1985. Etching and silkscreen on paper. 12 13/16 x 9 15/16 inches. Gift of Mr. Jack B. Pierson, 1986.3

Political and Personal: Images of Gay Identity

April 17, 2021 - July 11, 2021

Graphics Gallery

Featuring selections from the Jack B. Pierson Print Collection of 856 works on paper by 404 artists from around the globe, Political and Personal: Images of Gay Identity draws on Pierson’s experience as a gay man and sheds light on the important role sexual identity played in informing his collecting habits. The exhibition highlights several well-known and lesser-known gay artists, as well as the works of heterosexual artists, contextualized through their homoerotic subject matter (informed by classical mythology and an admiration for male athleticism) or the supportive content of their political messages.

Through emphasis on public identity and activism, dissecting historic complexities of the gay male gaze, and considering the pensive and private moments of gay love and attraction, this exhibition captures the multi-dimensional nature of gay identity in the 20th century.

Support provided by

IFPDA Foundation

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Bing & Grøndahl, Danish, founded 1853. Sauceboat, 1888-1890. Porcelain, 5 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (15 x 20 cm)

Art Nouveau Innovation: Danish Porcelain from an American Collector

July 12, 2021 - November 27, 2021

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

The Art Nouveau period was Danish porcelain’s renaissance, marked by technical and artistic innovations. From 1885 to 1920, manufacturers Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grøndahl reached new heights of artistic achievement, winning numerous awards along the way. Their output influenced the work of companies across Europe and created a global market for Danish porcelain. The objects in this exhibition, amassed over two generations, are from a private collection that spans nearly 250 years of porcelain production in Denmark.

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Bo Bartlett, American, born 1955. Serena Sleeping, 2014. Graphite on paper. Framed: 23 x 26 1/2 in. (58.4 x 67.3 cm). The Collection of Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby

Bo Bartlett: Forty Years of Drawing

July 17, 2021 - October 3, 2021

Graphics Gallery

Bo Bartlett is an American realist with a modernist vision. His artwork can be classified within the tradition of American realism, celebrating both the commonplace and the extraordinary. Educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Bartlett pushes the boundaries of the realist tradition with his multilayered images. Family and friends are the cast of characters that appear in his dreamlike works. This exhibition presents drawings from forty years of the artist's career (from 1976 to 2016).

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Yigal Ozeri, Israeli, born 1958. Untitled; Kendall, 2016. Oil on canvas, 36 x 54 inches. Collection of the Artist, NY.

​Brush with Reality: Yigal Ozeri

September 25, 2021 - January 2, 2022

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

Based in New York City, Yigal Ozeri is an Israeli artist best known for his meticulously crafted large-scale images of women in lush landscapes. These works have the appearance of photographs, but they are actually paintings. In varying degrees, painters have been using the camera or photograph to inform their work since the medium was invented in the mid-19th century. Typically the use of the camera was disguised or alluded to only in stylistic terms. In the late 1960s, however, artists in California and New York began to deliberately reference the photograph in their works by making the paintings look exactly like a photograph, re-creating sharp precise details, alongside fuzzy, out-of-focus elements. This movement in art was called Photorealism. 

In the 21st century, Yigal Ozeri is taking Photorealism in new directions. In his choice of subject matter, he employs intricate, realistic brushwork to create a narrative that blurs the lines between what is real and fantasy. He uses the medium of digital photography and processes the image on a computer until he arrives at the desired image, which he then carefully creates on canvas using a brush and paint. Brush with Reality offers highlights from the last decade of Ozeri’s works, from his first depiction of Priscilla in the jungles of Costa Rica in 2007 to his latest series that captures people on the streets of New York City. Ozeri has shown his work around the world, with several solo exhibitions in Europe, Mexico, and China.

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Courtesy of the Artist.

Sons: Seeing the Modern African American Male

January 23, 2022 - April 16, 2022

Henry Gallery Hodge Gallery

This year artist Jerry Taliaferro returns to Flint to photograph the men of our community for Sons: Seeing the Modern African American Male, which will be shown at the Flint Institute of Arts in 2022 on the 5th anniversary of the Women of a New Tribe exhibition. Much more than a photographic study, this exhibition aims to explore perceptions and biases. In Taliaferro’s words: “Recent events point to the urgent need for conversations about the contemporary black American male. Any effort, however humble, to foster an understanding of this largely misunderstood and often marginalized segment of the American population is of utmost importance.” Visitors will be presented with two photographs of each subject —first a black-and-white image of just a face, and then later in the exhibition a photograph in color, where the subjects are instructed to “be themselves.” 

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