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Modern Works' Titles Reveal Links to Classical Roots
Becky Cohen (USA, b. 1947), Venus and Mars at their Ablutions, 1977. Gelatin-silver print. Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.

STANFORD, CA.- The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University presents “Appellations from Antiquity,” on view from April 15 through July 26, 2009. This exhibition, a collaboration between the Cantor Arts Center and Stanford's Department of Art and Art History, features a selection of 19th- and 20th-century works from the museum's collection.

“Appellations from Antiquity” emerged from a 2008 Stanford seminar, taught by Jennifer Marshall, entitled “The Art Museum: History and Practice.” Student Rachel Patt, a classics major (2009), created the exhibition proposal, which was developed for installation under the guidance of Patience Young, the Center's curator for education, for the museum's Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery.

Each of the works on display takes its name from a Greco-Roman deity or mythological character. Originally intending to work with objects from ancient Greece and Rome, Patt searched through the Center's collection and was surprised to encounter a group of modern objects. “This may first strike viewers as an ensemble of objects disconnected to antiquity itself,” Patt said. “The artworks' contents do not immediately bring to mind ancient civilizations. However, titles reveal the link that exists between subject matter and classical roots.”

By displaying works in a variety of media by artists from the U.S. and Europe, “Appellations from Antiquity” attempts to sharpen public awareness of the degree to which Western cultures are unified through their common fascination with classical mythology and civilizations. The seven works in the exhibition span a century, from “Hercules in the Augean Stables,” in pen and gray ink, by Honoré Daumier (France, 1808-1879) to “Jupiter and Thetis,” an acrylic painting by Robert Kushner (U.S.A., b. 1949). Other pieces are “Untitled (The Three Graces),” screenprint, by Man Ray (U.S.A., 1890-1976); “Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty,” albumen print, by Julia Margaret Cameron (England, b. India, 1815-1879); “Venus and Mars at their Ablutions,” gelatin-silver print, by Becky Cohen (U.S.A., b. 1947); “The Three Graces,” etching, by Andre Zorn (Sweden, 19th century); and “Haitian Caryatids,” lithograph, by Adolf Dehn (U.S.A., 1895-1968).

“It has been a pleasure to work with Rachel Patt to realize her exhibition, and to bring her fresh insights on selected works to our viewing public,” Young said. “This show continues an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Art and Art History, and reflects the museum's intent to engage Stanford students in projects that are valuable for their professional development.”

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