Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit, 1814
Oil on panel
Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit is an exceptional early example of Raphaelle Peale’s “dining room pictures” and is one of only some 50 examples known today. The artist’s still lifes were considered extraordinary long before the vogue for still life took hold later in the century.
Delicacies from far-off origins, associated with the types of desserts offered in well-to-do households, are presented here in tempting detail. The meticulously rendered textures and skillfully executed reflections underscore Peale’s interest in scientific naturalism. The flawlessly balanced composition speaks to the desire in the early Republic for rational order, although the suggestion of extravagance simmers just below the surface.
Paint on enamel and metal
JULY.4.1969. HI NABOR’! IF THAT = OLD GEE – ZER’S IN HEAVEN, LIKE HIS TOMBSTONE SAYS, IT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE THE DEVIL WOULDN’T HAVE HIM. QUOTE. FIRE AND HAIL. SNOW AND VAPOUR. STORMY WIND FUL-LFILLING HIS WORD: PSALMS=148=8.
The self-taught artist and social activist Jesse Clyde Howard was an adamant defender of First Amendment rights. Hundreds of sign sculptures like this one once filled his property in Fulton, Missouri. Ranging from confessions to angry accusations, these signs demonstrate Howard’s belief in free thought and free speech. His “text messages” may be appreciated for their aesthetic qualities as well. The bold, black lettering and stark white background create an arresting abstract visual arrangement.
Prayer bowl, Cochini, New Mexico ca. 1820, and Jar, Hopi Arizona ca. 1890
Clay and pigment
"This mysterious little jar is painted with the image of four bears, a representation rarely found in Hopi ceramics. Each animal has a heartline -- the line running from the mouth to the chest, terminating in the area of the heart. Other features, such as teeth and claws, are emphasized. The use of this jar is unknown; it may have had a ceremonial function or may have been made for sale to outsiders who were visiting Hopi villages in ever increasing numbers during the last decades of the 19th century."
Bouncing Marbles, Bouncing Apple, Bouncing Olive
Oil on canvas
"In Bouncing Marbles, Bouncing Apple, Bouncing Olive, Edward Ruscha explores an obscure language of visual relationships. He divorces the objects depicted from their everyday contexts by placing them within an infinite, surreal space. The relationships that exist among the marbles, apples and olive are equally interpretations. The marbles might refer to childhood, the olive to hors d'oeuvres and martinis and the apple to the Fall of Adam and Eve. Such a reading makes this a meditation on the loss of innocence. Alternatively, Ruscha may have constructed a playful dialog among round forms or a treatise on Newton's law."
Starboat (Tugboat and Riverboat) 1966
Oil on canvas
Starboat (Tugboat and Riverboat) is painted with Thiebaud's characteristic sensuous colors and thick impasto. The boat and its reflection are rendered with delicate brush strokes. Sea and sky, boldly defined by a yellow and green horizon line, are laid out in broad swaths with a palette knife. While Thiebaud's work has been associated with Pop art because of its focus on the everyday objects of popular culture, he sees it as part of a long realist tradition.
Mirror Stage, 2012
In Mirror Stage, Ilit Azoulay combines images of a building taken at various angles and vantage points to create a new, digitally fabricated interior. The panorama is part of her series Imaginary Order (2008-2017). The project focused on the renovation of a well-known Brutalist-style building in the Israeli town of Zichron Ya'Akov. The artist photographed the structure over the course of seven years as it was transformed from a convalescent home into an art center and luxury hotel. The building's shift in function paralleled socio-political changes as Israel moved away from socialism to a capitalist economic model. Azoulay's re-creation merges elements of past, present, and future, to fabricate a never-to-be realized photographic plan.
Gelatin silver print
This photograph, from a series titled Improved Photographs, depicts artist William Wegman dressed as a woman. Handwritten texts on the print's surface are meant to emulate a magazine editor's comments to "improve" a model's body. With characteristic wit and humor, Wegman exposes the deceptive nature of editorial and fashion photography, while also poking fun at idealized gender norms for physical appearance.