The human form becomes a center of inquiry into notions of the ideal in this exhibition. Though typically manifested as physical perfection, the ideal can be embodied by alternative expressive means. In Russell Lee’s photograph of a homesteader, blemishes are reimagined as assets, deep furrows and the rough skin of a farmer’s face signify perseverance under arduous conditions. Scripted paradigms are forsaken by these artists, as they impart cultural ideals onto the mutable surface of the body. For the imperfect paragons in many of these works, such as the circus performers donning their costumes in Max Beckmann’s Weimar-era print, the pursuit of the ideal is nobler than its attainment.
Paragon: Embodying Ideals
All of the works of art in this exhibition were donated by alumni celebrating their class reunions this summer.