We Are Us: The Human Condition highlights the unique capacity of the arts to depict and document the human condition in its many forms. Regardless of whatever state we are in, we all share the same, fundamental emotions; we are us.
“At LCA, we are committed to showing work that represents the world we live in right now. The tumultuous nature of the last several years makes it a good time to show art specifically about feelings and emotions. It's an emotional show and is not to be missed,” said Lora Fosberg, LCA’s director of exhibitions.
Artists in the exhibit are Ivan Albright, Romare Bearden, Greg Breda, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, John Divola, Ron Herman, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, Lester Johnson, Alex Katz, Käthe Kollwitz, Jacob Lawrence, Cydney Lewis, Hung Liu, Yolanda López, Ruth Morgan, Alice Neel, Dean Porter, Ramiro Rodriguez, Edward Ruscha, Therman Statom, Lisabeth Sterling, Stephanie Trenchard and Carrie Mae Weems.
The exhibition was curated around a series of paintings by Alex Katz, one of the most important painters to emerge from the 1960s. On loan from a local collector, these paintings were preparatory works for Katz’s 10-by-20-foot painting, Ada’ Garden, in the collection of the Des Moines Art Center. Ada’s Garden is a sociologically fraught group portrait displaying many different emotions, inspiring the “human condition” theme of LCA’s fall exhibition.
Katz revolutionized traditional portraiture and landscapes to create modern paintings. Katz demonstrates the personal doesn’t need hyper-realism to be impactful. By minimizing detail, Katz’s subjects can serve as stand-ins, allowing viewers to enter the frame themselves.
Another revolutionary artist in the exhibit is Alice Neel. A champion of social justice, Neel developed her signature approach, rejecting the elitist standards of portraiture to create powerfully honest and compassionate images of the real, underrepresented people she encountered. Her extensive and diverse works are an invaluable chronicle of 20th century America. Neel’s use of color and line served to capture the inner, emotional life of her sitters, lending a psychological weight to her work.
Contemporary visual artist, Greg Breda, is also featured in the exhibit. The work of Breda explores the strength, resilience and beauty of the human spirit. Breda presents introspective narratives and moments of contemplation through a layered exchange between symbolism and the materials he employs. The Citadel encapsulates these thematic investigations and centers on persistence in the face of adversity and an unshakable spirit.
Free, public events taking place during the run of We Are Us: The Human Condition include:
- Opening Reception on Friday, November 4 from 5-8 p.m. (Central)
- Curator Gallery Talk led by LCA exhibition director, Lora Fosberg, on Saturday, November 12 at 11:30 a.m. (Central)
- Family Day on Saturday, February 11 from 1-3 p.m. (Central) includes a free tour, snacks and art making
Free gallery tours are available for small groups and organizations. To schedule a docent-led tour, contact Janet Bloch at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a children's tour, contact Nelsy Marcano at email@example.com.