Sideshow: Artists and the Circus

FEBRUARY 10 – APRIL 22, 2012

Throughout history, artists have been fascinated by the colorful costumes, flying acrobats, and exotic animals of the circus. This imagery held a particular interest for two pillars of Modernism: Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, who chose circus scenery as a vehicle for experiments in color, form, and abstraction. Conversely, American Scene artists such as John Steuart Curry and Russell Cowles captured the vibrant performers and animals as they moved across early 20th-century America, entertaining both rural and urban audiences. Chosen from the Art Center’s permanent collections, Sideshow will also feature works by Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Otto Dix.

Sideshow: Artists and the Circus is organized by Laura Burkhalter, associate curator.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (American, born Japan, 1889-1953)
Amazing Juggler, 1952 (detail)
Oil on canvas; 65 3/8 x 40 1/8 inches
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections;
Purchased with funds from the Edmundson Art Foundation, Inc., 1954.24


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