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ASU Art Museum exhibition Drawing from History

May 09, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. – Drawing from History: Permanent Collection and Loans presents 20 works by contemporary artists who are influenced by and quote from art history. The exhibition focuses on work in the ASU Art Museum’s collection, including new acquisitions and loans from local collections. The exhibition also includes historic works that provide inspiration and reveal sources. The exhibition runs from April to June 23, 2007, in the Nelson Fine Arts Center facility, Arizona State University Art Museum.

The contemporary artists in this exhibition use their knowledge of art history in different ways to inspire their work. The work ranges from painting, prints, photographs, sculpture and installation. Artists in the exhibition include Pierre Alechinsky, Pedro Alvarez, John James Audubon, Sandow Birk, Tiago Carneiro da Cunha, Franklin Cassaro, Enrique Chagoya, Gordon Cheung, Sue Coe, Gustav Dore, Walton Ford, Nicholas Herrera, David Huffman, William Kentridge, Vik Muniz, Giovanni Piranesi and Claudette Schreuders.

Walton Ford imagines that he is an early naturalist like John James Audubon. Ford builds upon Audubon’s history, his fascination with American birds and mammals, and his process of hunting his subjects and posing their taxidermied bodies for his drawings, paintings and prints. While Ford is enamored with the heroic tales surrounding this early naturalist and artist, times have changed. Audubon’s practise of hunting his subjects is controversial today, and new technology renders this type of work unnecessary for scientific purposes. So Ford creates an artwork that is a detailed image of an elephant that is anything but scientific, overlaid with out of place images and his great sense of humor.

David Huffman utilizes the panel format and flowing narrative of 17th century Japanese screens for his painting Katrina, Katrina, Girl You’re on my Mind, 2006. This recent acquisition takes on the hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Huffman’s “traumabots”, cartoon-like astronauts in blackface, are seen throughout the composition recreating some of the haunting images of the disaster: wading through thigh-high toxic floodwaters, waiting for evacuation on a rooftop, in a dinghy.

These are examples of the ways that contemporary artists mine the history of art, for content and for style. For more information contact Heather Lineberry, Senior Curator, ASU Art Museum at 480.965.5272 or

The ASU Art Museum is part of the Herberger College of the Arts and is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Tuesdays and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 480.965.2787 or visit the museum online

Media Contact:

Heather Lineberry
ASU Art Museum senior curator