From October 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017, Museum de Fundatie
presents the exhibition Behold the Man. With 100 works by artists such as Kokoschka, Brancusi, Picasso, Nussbaum, Goldin, Trecartin, Dumas, Richter and Rauch, Behold the Man shows how artists of the past century successfully used the seemingly clear and straightforward genre of the portrait to evoke the richness and complexity of the modern world. The curator of Behold the Man is art critic Hans den Hartog Jager, who also organized the exhibitions More Light (2011) and More Power (2014).
The organizing principle of the exhibition Behold the Man seems simple at first: 100 portraits of 100 people from the past 100 yearsexactly one from each year. They vary from Oskar Kokoschkas Self-Portrait (1917) to Neo Rauchs Storm Front (2016), from Pablo Picassos Large Still Life with a Pedestal Table (Marie-Thérèse) (1931) to Kerry James Marshalls Scout Master (1996). The exhibition explores the idea that about 100 years ago, in the decade between 1910 and 1920, the artistic image of the human form changed radically. Photography became more central to the arts, and at the same time, abstract art made its great breakthrough. Meanwhile, the Western world was transformed by the First World War and the Russian Revolution. These events had a tremendous impact on how artists portrayed the human figure. We can see this vividly in the work of Constantin Brancusi. At the start of that crucial decade, he made his Sleeping Muse, a head lying on its side, which clearly has all the usual facial features. Ten years later, however, he was making idealized, thoroughly abstracted egg-shaped heads such as The Beginning of the World and Sculpture for the Blind. These sculptures are still regarded as a return to square one, a fresh start for the portrait genre. From that moment on, it seems that portraitists were no longer primarily concerned with depicting their subjects objectively. The human figure tended to become a form without content, on which artists imposed their own world views, generally by distorting them or charging them with new forms and meanings. These meanings, which vary from abstraction and symbolism to idealism and fame, crop up in diverse combinations in almost any portrait. In the process, the crucial fact emerges that the best, most intriguing portraits successfully combine several of these meanings into an integrated whole: one person, one figure. This seeming paradox is the crux of Behold the Man; the exhibition ultimately turns on the question of how, over the past century, artists have used the portrait genre, in all its apparent simplicity and clarity, to evoke the richness and complexity of the modern world.
Artists: Adel Abdessemed, Karel Appel, Diane Arbus, Art and Language, Francis Bacon, Max Beckmann, Eva Besnyö, Mike Bidlo, Christian Boltanski, Michaël Borremans, Constantin Brancusi, Arno Breker, Bernard Buffet, Felice Casorati, Paul Citroen, Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Constant, Enzo Cucchi, Rineke Dijkstra, Otto Dix, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Ger van Elk, Tracey Emin, Walker Evans, Jean Fautrier, Edgar Fernhout, Seiichi Furuya, Charles Gaupp, Daan van Golden, Nan Goldin, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, George Grosz, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Philip Guston, Isaac Israëls, Matthew Day Jackson, Egill Jacobsen, Asger Jorn, Yousuf Karsh, Dick Ket, Yves Klein, Job Koelewijn, Oskar Kokoschka, Tetsumi Kudo, Milan Kunc, Oliver Laric, Klara Lidén, Sarah Lucas, Lucebert, Ken Lum, René Magritte, Kazimir Malevich, Mark Manders, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kerry James Marshall, Ana Mendieta, Annette Messager, Bruce Nauman, Alice Neel, Arnold Newman, Felix Nussbaum, Catherine Opie, Irving Penn, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Marc Quinn, Arnulf Rainer, Neo Rauch, Gerhard Richter, Hervé Di Rosa, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Viviane Sassen, Antonio Saura, Christian Schad, Gino Severini, David Scherman/Lee Miller, Cindy Sherman, Nicolaes De Staël, Edward Steichen, Juergen Teller, Charley Toorop, Ryan Trecartin, Roy Villevoye, Henk Visch, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing, Co Westerik, Carel Willink, Francesca Woodman, Andrzej Wróblewski, Ossip Zakine, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhao Yao