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Upcoming Exhibition

Men of Steel, Women of Wonder

June 21–September 01, 2019

Cowden Gallery

Renée Cox, Chillin’ with Liberty, 1998, Cibachrome Print, 60 × 48 in., Courtesy of the artist, Photo courtesy of Long Gallery

Two of the most popular icons in American pop culture Superman and Wonder Woman, first appeared in times of economic adversity and world war. These characters quickly emerged as embodiments of American morality, representing “truth, justice, and the American way.”

Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, examines the art world’s responses to Superman and Wonder Woman, ranging from their Depression-era origins to today’s contemporary interpretations. The exhibition features more than seventy works including paintings, photographs, photographs, installations, and videos by a wide range of artists, such as Laylah Ali, Dara Birnbaum, Renée Cox, Mary Beth Edelson, Fahamu Pecou, Pope.L, Mel Ramos, Norman Rockwell, and Jim Shaw, among others.

"Most of us connect to superheroes. They might be a touchstone of our childhood; we might like to intellectualize the myths, symbols, and narratives embodied in their character and actions; or we might respond emotionally to their superpowers and abilities to destroy the bad guys and save our world," said Suzanne Weaver, Brown Foundation Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “In this exhibition, the artists who have interpreted these cultural icons with fresh eyes go deeper by exploring the relationship of Superman and Wonder Woman to national identity, American values, social politics, and the concept of humanity.” 

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This exhibition is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. It is generaously funded by The Brown Foundation, Inc. and The Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation of 1992.

This exhibition is supported by the City of San Antonio's Department of Arts & Culture.

Exhibition Gallery

Fahamu Pecou, Nunna My Heroes

Fahamu Pecou, Nunna My Heros: After Barkley Hendricks' "Icon for My Man Superman" 1969, 2011, Acrylic, gold leaf, and oil stick on canvas, 69 x 42 1/2 in., Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Gift of Marjorie and Michael Levine,  Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrian

Francis Criss, Say Shift

Francis Criss, Day Shift, 1943, Oil on canvas, 47 1/8 x 38 1/8 x 2 3/8 in., Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2007.182, Photo: Dwight Primiano


Dulce Pinzón, Maria Luisa Romero from Puebla works in in a laundromat in Brooklyn, New York. She sends $150 a week

Dulce Pinzón, Maria Luisa Romero from Puebla works in in a laundromat in Brooklyn, New York. She sends $150 a week, 2005–2010, Archival c-print from analog image, Courtesy of the artist

Renée Cox

Renée Cox, Eruption (from the Rajé series), 1998, Cibachrome print, 60 x 48 in., Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Long Gallery 

Aphrodite Désirée Navab

Aphrodite Désirée Navab, World Summit from Super East/West Woman, 2002-2008, Archival C Print, 22 x 17 in., Courtesy of the artist 

Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill, They Wonder, 2015, Performance, Public Communication: Performing Knowledge of the Body. Suplex, BLUE orange Contemporary, Houston, Texas. Photo documentation by Max Fields. 

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