My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action
For decades popular culture has been fascinated by superheroes – their superhuman capabilities, their desire for truth and justice, and their ability to save the day. Their storylines have captivated many, and their imagery has become contemporary idols throughout the world. Experience the escapades of iconic superheroes with this pumped-up collection of international artworks in a variety of media at the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS), opening on Saturday April 15, 2017. As contemporary idols, superheroes provide a rich source of inspiration for artists around the world. Exhibition My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action celebrates and re-envisions the possibilities that exist when you have a magic cape, lasso, or some superhuman power that changes everything. The variety of interpretations in My Hero is vast and challenging, dark and humorous, familiar yet new!
My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action will feature art by nationally renowned artist Mark Newport (Keego Harbor, Michigan), who, for years, has been using superhero imagery to explore issues of identity and the definition of a “hero.” Newport says about his work: “Turning the superhero inside out is a way for me to present an understanding of masculinity. Superheroes suggest strength, but knitting them or covering them with embroidery provides a softness that is contradictory to their image.” Dulce Pinzon (Brooklyn, NY) makes photographs depicting the lives of immigrants as society’s “real superheroes,” with images of Catwoman working as a nanny and Superman delivering pizzas on his trusty bike. Sacramento artist Mel Ramos anchors the exhibition My Hero!
A pioneer in the genre of superhero art, Ramos has been using iconic images in his work for over 50 years. One of his earlier works, an oil painting of Superman (1962), is currently on display at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Artist Lizabeth Rossof created a Batman warrior for My Hero! in Xi’an, China, featuring Batman as a historic Terracotta Warrior. The Batman warrior is authentic in composition and detail and is crafted using the same natural material as the original statues. Other notable Batman-themed art include Simon Monk’s Tim Drake featuring a Robin action figure and Steve Seeley’s Family Portrait of Batman and Batwoman.
My Hero!’s international roster of artists includes a series of humorous, sardonic superhero paintings by Laurina Paperina (Rovereto,Italy), and a sultry rendering of Supergirl laying across Mount Taranaki by Graham Kirk (New Plymouth, New Zealand) that is both dramatic and comic. The Italian photography duo by the name Foto Marvellini (Vercelli, Italy) create rich, somber Victorian-like sepia toned images of our superheroes that appear as vintage photographs, circa 1850. My Hero! Contemporary Art & Superhero Action was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA.
Through our exhibition-related programs of My Hero!, IMAS provides invaluable opportunities for all ages to experience contemporary art in new and exciting ways.
- My Heroes Roundtable on April 22nd from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM will feature members of the arts and psychology community as they discuss ways superheroes have impacted society. (Included in the price of general admission. Free for IMAS Members).
- Super Hero Sunday on June 25 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM will enable you to explore science behind some of the most popular heroes, and create superhero inspired art. Join us for hero story time and dress up like your favorite superhero! (Included in the price of general admission. Free for IMAS Members).
- If you’re an art lover or just enjoy comic book art, join us at our Comic Book Art After Dark on May 18th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM to create comic book art using pen and watercolor painting. ($15 Members, $20 Non-Members, 21 and over only, BYOB).
- Heroes in the Sky – Stars and Skies will be on July 6th from 4 PM to 10 PM. We will explore the ancient superheroes in the sky. Learn about some of the most famous constellations including Hercules, Orion, and more! Discover the ways ancient heroes inspire the famous superheroes of modern times. (Included in the price of general admission. Free for IMAS Members).
These programs are fundamental in connecting the exhibition My Hero! with teachers, students, adults, children and families, while discovering the secret life of your favorite superheroes and expanding your knowledge and understanding of contemporary art.