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Body Politic: The Anatomy of the Grotesque

Body Politic: The Anatomy of the Grotesque surveys the ways in which contemporary artists have used the grotesque to call attention to the perversity inherent in the dominant discourse on beauty, sexuality, and race. In its disregard for conventional aesthetic limitations, the grotesque transgresses and destabilizes the act of looking at the idealized body, ultimately revealing its potential to be subverted, opened up, and rendered more complex.

Co-curated by M.F.A. Studio Arts candidate Chelsea Sams and M.A. Art History candidate Alex Leme, this exhibition invites its audience to interrogate society’s definitions of the ideal body. Drawn primarily from the permanent collection of the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass, this exhibition showcases works by “Judy Chicago,” Paul McCarthy, Sheila Pepe, Kiki Smith, Andy Warhol, and others.

Now in its eighth year, the UMCA’s annual Curatorial Fellowship exhibition is the culmination of a year-long independent project for course credit, conducted by Art History graduate students in collaboration with faculty and museum staff. The Curatorial Fellowship deepens students’ understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of exhibition curation in a museum setting and provides students with hands-on experience and highly valuable skills for the job market.

In a new, exciting departure, the UMCA invites Studio Arts graduate students to collaborate with their Art History peers through participation in the Curatorial Fellowship Exhibition. This collaboration opens a breadth of possibilities for Art History and Studio Arts graduate students and provides a greater range of potential careers.

The success of this program is made possible through the support and guidance of Loretta Yarlow (Museum Director), Eva Fierst (Curator of Education), Justin Griswold (Collections Manager), Karen Kurczynski (Assistant Professor of Art History), and Shona Macdonald (Professor of Studio Art).