Future Exhibitions

Fractured Narratives:  a strategy to engage
(September 17, 2014–January 4, 2015)

 A powerful moment occurs when a narrative is cracked open, when something one expects to be presented simply for what it is, or even more, for fact, is left unguarded as one possibility among many. Suddenly, experiences or information, most typically taken for granted, are made accessible to reflection, debate and perhaps even, a deeper understanding or feeling than would have been possible before. At a time when many artists intentionally fulfill the roles of cultural commentators or agitators through extremely direct, either documentary or action-based practices, there are a subset of those who take on social, political or cultural content and purposefully avoid didactic or direct polemical expression, in order to create opportunities for challenging, uncomfortable, and nuanced consideration of their subjects.

Frequently this outcome is the result of breaking apart the elements of stories and histories and rearranging the components. This leaves the work in a sense unfinished or open, until each viewer’s critical engagement becomes the essential final ingredient. As each viewer brings their subjectivity to these works, the process of looking is elevated to a form of seeking that is powerfully engaging.  Limiting the presentation to artists making work in the past decade, the exhibition considers this approach given the cultural, psychological and technological conditions of the past 10 years. 


Trevor Paglen
Untitled (Reaper Drone), 2012
C-print, 48 x 60 in.
The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College
Gift of Barbara (R1968) and Theodore (R1968) Alfond.2013.34.082


Kara Walker
(January 17–March 29, 2015)

This exhibition presents Kara Walker's print portfolio, Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) which includes fifteen large-scale prints created in 2005. The prints contain enlarged reproductions from Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War, an illustrated compilation of news reports about the Civil War that was first published in 1866.  Walker overlays silhouette figures on the illustrations to create a distinctive body of work that encouraged historical reexamination. Now iconic representations, Walker’s silhouettes upset the historical lineage presented in the illustrations and in our classrooms. This presentation of the prints at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is the culmination of a course taught at Rollins College entitled, Exhibition Difference: Diversity and Visual Culture in the 21st Century. To complement the presentation of the prints by Walker, a few illustrations created about the Civil War by Winslow Homer for Harper’s Weekly from the permanent collection of the Cornell will also be on view.

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969. She received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. The artist is best known for exploring the complicated intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Her work has been widely exhibited at museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 


Kara Walker
Exodus of Confederates from Atlanta from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005
Offset lithography and silkscreen, 39 x 53 in.
The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, Gift of Barbara (R1968) and Theodore (R1968) Alfond
Cornell Fine Arts Museum 2013.38.03
© 2014 Kara Walker


Fashionable Portraits in Europe
(Summer 2015)

Like fashion, portraiture is subject to shifting tastes and trends. Portrait formats and the way sitters are represented change as men’s and women’s clothes go in and out of style, although a certain cache has remained cogent, including an emphasis on the sitter’s identity. An individual’s concept of his/her identity is defined and dictated by social norms and expectations that are equally subject to a kind of fad of the time. 

Through a selection of European portraits from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, both from the collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and outside loans, this exhibition illuminates shifting trends in the portraiture genre, as well as offering a look at certain transformations in men’s and women’s fashions. The show includes a Portrait of Charles IX of France after François Clouet, La Comtesse de Beaufort by Louis Michel van Loo, and Portrait of Harriet Gordon by Thomas Lawrence, to name a few. Portrait paintings will be also accompanied by some comparable period garments and wigs. 

Portrait of a lady  Gainsborough

Attributed to Michiel Jansz. van Miereveld (Dutch, 1567–1641)
Portrait of a Lady, 17th century
Oil on panel, 34 x 25 in.
Gift of the Myers Family, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Myers, Jr. (R1942) and June Reinhold Myers (R1941)

Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1726–1788)
Portrait of Gaëtan Apolline Balthazar Vestris, c. 1781–82    
Oil on canvas, 12 1/2 x 10 3/8 in.
Bequest from the estate of Edmund L. Murray


Jess Dugan:  Every breath we drew
(Fall 2015)

For nearly a decade, artist Jess T. Dugan has been making photographic portraits that explore issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community from a highly individual and humanistic point of view.  Every breath we drew, Dugan’s most recent project, explores the power of identity, desire, and connection through portraits of herself and others.  Working within the framework of queer experience and from her actively constructed sense of masculinity, Dugan’s portraits examine the intersection between private, individual identity and the search for intimate connection with others.  She photographs people in their homes, often in their bedrooms, using medium and large format cameras to create a deep, sustained engagement, resulting in intimate and detailed portraits. 

Dugan combines formal portraits, images of couples, self-portraits, and photographs of her own romantic relationship to investigate broader themes of identity and connection while also speaking to private, individual experience.  The photographs of men and masculine individuals act as a kind of mirror; they depict the type of gentle masculinity Dugan is attracted to, yet also the kind she wants to embody.  Similarly, the photographs of relationships speak to a drive to be seen, understood, and desired through the eyes of another person; a reflection of the self as the ultimate intimate connection.  Through beautifully intimate and honest portraits, Every breath we drew engages larger questions about how identity is formed, desire is expressed, and intimate connection is sought. This exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book with an essay by the curator and an interview with the artist conducted by internationally-renowned photographer Dawoud Bey.


Jess Dugan
Erica and Krista, 2012
C-print, 40 x 24 in.
Courtesy of the Artist