Embodied: Human Figures in Art debuts at Newfields

Joey Amato | December 20, 2021

Embodied: Human Figures in Art opens at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields on December 22, 2021. The exhibition consists entirely of artworks from the museum’s permanent collection and will be displayed in a newly renovated corridor of galleries that provides a pathway leading directly to the Clowes Pavilion, which is set to open in early 2022. All of the featured artworks depict the human body and are organized in a global thematic display.

Embodied explores the motivations behind artworks that depict human figures and the garments that augment them. The installation asks guests to contemplate the question, How do representations of people in art help us explore what it means to be human?  The artwork is arranged into six themes, including power, beauty standards, identity, gender, intimacy and remembrance. As guests make their way through each gallery, they will be encouraged to participate in guided visual literacy exercises.

The exhibition will feature works spanning 4,000 years and multiple continents and mediums, from painting and sculpture to textiles and ceramics. Guests will recognize artworks from throughout the museum. Notable pieces including The Expulsion of Colin Kaepernick and John Brown vase by Robert Lugo, Barbara Hepworth’s Two Figures, Hotel Lobby by Edward Hopper, and comingle with dozens of other artworks from the museum’s African, American, Asian, Contemporary, Design, Textiles, and Works on Paper collections.

This reinstallation is led by an interdepartmental team of staff as part of the Gallery Revisioning Project at Newfields. This three-year research and strategic planning endeavor funded by longtime Newfields supporter Kay F. Koch allows the museum to rethink its permanent collection spaces. The group examines ways to engage audiences by displaying the collection in more relevant, inclusive, diverse, interconnected, and experimental ways.

Embodied: Human Figures in Art will be on view on Floor 2 of the IMA Galleries. Embodied: Human Figures in Art is curated by Shelley Selim, Curator of Design and Decorative Arts, Anna Stein, Associate Curator of Works on Paper and Amanda Maples, curator of African Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Embodied: Human Figures in Art is part of the Gallery Revisioning Project with funding generously provided by Kay F. Koch.