Strange Bodies

Matthew Barney, From the “Cremaster Cycle,” 1994-2002.

Yesterday, the Hirshhorn Museum opened the exhibition Strange Bodies, an installation of more than 40 works highlighting figuration in the Museum’s collection. On view through fall 2009, some pieces will rotate midway through the show. The exhibition (located in the lower-level galleries) includes a space devoted solely to a survey of works by the German artist George Grosz (1893-1959).

Beginning with acquisitions from the core collection donated to the Museum by Joseph H. Hirshhorn, Strange Bodies attempts to show how expressionistic and surrealistic impulses toward human representation have evolved. Early to mid-20th century works by artists such as Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti and Willem de Kooning are included with examples of figuration from more recent years by Sue Coe, Tony Cragg, Robert Gober, Philip Guston, Julian Schnabel, Paul Thek, Franz West, John Currin, Ron Mueck, Dario Robleto and Yinka Shonibare. A suite of “Cremaster” photographs by Season 2 artist Matthew Barney are also a highlight of the exhibition.

Organized by associate curator Kristen Hileman, you can read her essay on Strange Bodies in the fall 2008 issue of Hirshhorn magazine.


  1. I’ve only seen Mathew Barney’s performance & it was great as usuall. he’s got a very artistic perception of time & nature. the way he solves his characters in their time & culture is so great. the only real character who was still charismatic-except for himself- was the beautiful crippled woman; who inspite of this was still kind of imprisoned or cursed creature. the other characters were just a symbol of their time & community; just like most of the world! I wish I had the chance to see the other parts of the exhibition; if they were as thrilling as this one!

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