Smart to the Core: Embodying the Self

Opening: Monday, Jan 28, 2019 7 – 8:30 pm
Tuesday, Jan 29 – May 19, 2019

The University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood
Chicago, IL 60637

This exhibition considers how selfhood has been variously constructed and performed by visual artists in the modern era, with particular attention to gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and intersectional identities.

The works of art on view—many suggesting autobiography—articulate personhood in complex ways, by engaging with challenging histories, playing with stereotypes, reflecting on family and social relationships, or embracing a multiplicity of identities. Accentuating a level of self-consciousness about the relationship between identity and embodiment, these works in turn encourage viewers to consider their sense of themselves and the forces that shape it.

Smart to the Core is an ambitious new program from the Smart Museum’s Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry. The exhibitions are curated for teaching in The University of Chicago’s famed undergraduate Core curriculum, which introduces students to foundational texts that raise fundamental questions about human experience. This first iteration is organized as primary source material for the Social Sciences course sequence, “Self, Culture, and Society.” Throughout the 2019 winter and spring academic quarters students will interpret the artworks in tandem with the theories and texts associated with their course. Overall, this new exhibition program showcases the ways in which the Smart Museum engages with and shares the intellectual life of the University with the broader public.