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Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive,
Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63110-1380
Telephone 314.721.0072



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Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis
October 19–February 10, 2019
Galleries 249 & 250, East Building


The celebrated artist re-envisions Museum masterworks featuring Saint Louisans

Kehinde Wiley creates large-scale oil paintings of contemporary African American subjects in poses that recall grand traditions of European and American portraiture. His models—real people dressed in their own clothing—assume poses adapted from historic paintings. Wiley’s portraits often feature ornate and decorative backgrounds, elements of which surround and sometimes weave around his subjects. His works address the politics of race and power in art, drawing attention to the pervasive lack of representation of people of color in the art world.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is proud to present Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis, an exhibition that is deeply connected to this city and informed by visits Wiley made in 2017. Through a process of street casting, he invited strangers he met in neighborhoods in north St. Louis and Ferguson to pose for his paintings. Wiley then created eleven original portraits that are inspired by carefully chosen artworks in the Museum’s collection.

In 2018 Wiley became the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Former U.S. President Barack Obama selected Wiley for this honor. Wiley has held solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. His works are included in the collections of numerous public institutions.

Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art, and Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art with Molly Moog, research assistant. This exhibition and related programs are supported with a grant from the Trio Foundation of St. Louis. Additional support is provided by Mary Ann and Andy Srenco.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays from Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Published by Roberts Projects with distribution by D.A.P.

Flora and Fauna in Japanese Art
Through March 24, 2019
Gallery 225, Main Building


Japan encompasses a wide range of habitats, from the icy north to the subtropical south, populated by diverse flora and fauna. The Japanese have celebrated the natural beauty of their island nation in all seasons for millennia and the depiction of plants, animals, flowers, and insects has developed into a popular subject for the fine and decorative arts.

This exhibition explores how the Japanese have portrayed flora and fauna through paintings and ceramics from the mid-17th to the early-20th century. Artists and artisans alike experimented with stylization and realism, common and unusual combinations of floral and fauna subjects, and compositional strategies. Seasonality was conveyed through the selection of particular plants and animals; pheasants and flowering cherry blossoms illustrate spring while geese and wilting river reeds denote autumn. Another common practice was to combine subjects to create auspicious symbolism or to generate visual puns.

Flora and Fauna in Japanese Art features 9 works from the Museum collection, including a significant recent acquisition, Komuro Suiun’s Summer Scene with Solitary Duck amidst Rose Mallow and River Reeds, a scroll that was first shown as one of Japan’s fine-art submissions to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. After more than a century, it has returned to join the permanent collection of Japanese art at the Museum.

Gallery 225 is devoted to the periodic rotation of East Asian works on silk and paper and related objects. Flora and Fauna in Japanese Art is curated by Philip Hu, curator of Asian art.

Balance and Opposition in Ancient Peruvian Textiles
Through November 25, 2018
Gallery 100, Main Building

The Saint Louis Art Museum will present “Balance and Opposition in Ancient Peruvian Textiles,” a free exhibition that will demonstrate the diversity of ancient Peru, as well as the depth and breadth of the museum’s collection. The exhibition will be on view in Gallery 100 from June 15 through Nov. 25.

(To download web-sized images from the exhibition, right click on the images below.)

With objects produced by a range of cultures spanning more than 2,000 years, “Balance and Opposition” marks the first time the museum’s remarkable holdings of ancient Peruvian textiles will be shown as a group. The exhibition celebrates the aesthetic appeal, technical skill and remarkable antiquity of these works, while being grounded in cultural context.

Because of the labor and artistry involved in their construction, ancient Peruvians valued exceptional textiles more highly than silver and gold. Cloth held the utmost importance in displays of political power, ethnic distinction and religious events. Brightly colored and decorated with meaningful motifs, textiles were used for storage, tools, weapons, wrappings for the dead, and of course, a range of clothing. “Balance and Opposition” presents works that express a variety of cultural values and that were produced with a variety of innovative techniques.

The exhibition’s title refers to the concept of duality that was fundamentally important to ancient Peruvian art and culture. All aspects of life were organized into two opposing parts that operated in the continual pursuit of balance. Textiles embodied this duality, as they only come into existence when the warp is woven with the weft.

“Balance and Opposition” includes works from the museum’s impressive collection of Andean textiles and loaned works from the University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archaeology. The exhibition is curated by Deborah Spivak, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Ancient American Art.

Sun Xun: Time Spy
Through Oct. 21, 2018
Galleries 234 and 235

The Saint Louis Art Museum next month will present “Time Spy,” an animated 3D film that draws from Eastern and Western traditions of art, history, myth, and imagination. To create the work, Chinese artist Sun Xun merged a 1,000-year-old printmaking technique—the woodblock print—with modern film-making technologies.

“Sun Xun: Time Spy” includes the 2016 film and a selection of the more than 10,000 carved woodblocks the artist used to create the animation.

Although trained as a woodcut artist, Sun never fully embraced that technique despite being an unusually proficient cutter of blocks. He began making animations in art school, and opened π Animation Studio in 2006, the year after he graduated. He works closely with a team of animators to produce a steady stream of films that have been screened at film festivals and exhibited in museums around the world.

Woodcuts emerged in China centuries before Europeans discovered the printmaking technique. Sun subverts the technique by doing away with the printed sheet of paper and digitally scanning his woodblocks to produce the animated film.

“Time Spy,” which was commissioned by Swiss watchmaking company Audemars Piguet, premiered in 2016 on Miami Beach in a bamboo pavilion. Last summer, he reconfigured the film for the screens of New York’s Times Square. In St. Louis, his installation incorporates a gallery full of the woodblocks that were used in the making of “Time Spy.”

The artist has also chosen to include four prints by Albrecht Dürer from the museum’s collection as part of his installation. Dürer, the prodigious innovator of the woodcut medium in late 15th-century Europe, is one of Sun’s artistic heroes and—along with an expansive list of other artists, East and West—a rich source of inspiration.

“Sun Xun: Time Spy” is sponsored in St. Louis by Audemars Piguet.

The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Wyckoff, curator of prints, drawings, and photographs; Gretchen Wagner, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in prints, drawings, and photographs; Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art; and Philip Hu, curator of Asian art.

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