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Art & Design

  • Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2005. Richard Brown Baker Fund for Contemporary British Art

    Stranger Than Paradise

    Contemporary Art

    July 14, 2017 – February 25, 2018

    Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2005. Richard Brown Baker Fund for Contemporary British Art

  • Stranger Than Paradise

    Stranger than Paradise juxtaposes works of different styles, sensibilities, and eras, suggesting how human perspectives on the natural world have shifted over the centuries. Nature—once associated with pleasure, myth, and domination—now often connotes feelings of dread, guilt, uncertainty, and concern. This presentation of 14 objects from the RISD Museum’s holdings, ranging from ancient art to contemporary works, considers some of the ways human relationships to natural surroundings have been portrayed. In Wilhelm Frederik van Royen’s The Young Hunter (ca. 1706), a young man proudly displays the bounty of his hunt, indicating wealth and privilege and symbolically suggesting the inevitability of change and death. This scene forms a stark contrast to Angela Dufresne’s disturbingly ambiguous painting Man and Kid (2014), where the relationship between man and animal in a pastoral setting cannot be clearly or comfortably determined. Other featured artists include François Boucher, Arthur Bowen Davies, Tomory Dodge, Roger Hiorns, Justine Kurland, Wifredo Lam, Ron Nagle, Sophia Narrett, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Michael E. Smith, and Wilhelm Frederik van Royen.

    The RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.

  • This presentation of works, from ancient Greek pottery to contemporary objects, considers the changing—and often unusual—relationships humans have with the natural world. Early examples depict forests and fields as backdrops for hunting scenes or for mythological icons. Paintings by Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Surrealist Wifredo Lam suggest significantly different notions of communion between people and nature. More recent paintings, sculptures, and photographs further explore this unsettled and complicated relationship and reflect on the destruction of the very environment that sustains us. Other works in this gallery and elsewhere in the museum—for example, Paul Morrison’s Exine mural—offer a range of perspectives between these concepts, and identify nature as a force of empowerment or as a way to escape an increasingly technologized and industrialized world.

    Dominic Molon Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art RISD Museum

    The RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.


Selected objects from Stranger Than Paradise