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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 Layla 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.” 

This exhibition is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

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