Series of four silver images of human facial profiles on a black background

Up Close & Personal: The Body in Contemporary Art

October 30, 2021 – February 27, 2022; Lightcatcher building

Curated by Amy Chaloupka from the Collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky

The extended isolation of the pandemic has undeniably affected our collective consciousness, especially our heightened awareness of the body and its vulnerabilities.

Sharing life “in person” once again is a celebratory moment, but also cause for self-reflection. How will we wish to operate moving forward within our own bodies, and also in caring for and considering the bodies of others?

The exhibition Up Close & Personal examines the human body through the expressive lens of nearly 60 artists. Some explore the many ways we communicate with one another—through facial expression, body language, self-presentation, and performance. Others boldly envision narratives and representations of the self through the use of their own bodies in their work. Artists are acutely aware that all bodies reside at the dynamic intersection of gender, class, race, sexuality, age, and ability. These compelling portrayals of the figure are situated at these crossroads of identity and point toward countless possibilities for human connection and understanding.

Up Close & Personal is generously presented from the renowned collection of Driek and Michael Zirinsky. The dynamic selection of work, expressing a range of processes and ideas, allows visitors to get up close and personal with the mindset of the artists as represented in the selections of these lifelong collectors of art.

This exhibition is supported in part by Heritage Bank, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham.

To complement the exhibition, the Museum will host a companion exhibit at Old City Hall, Artists x Artists, that explores intimate portraits of artists by artists. The exhibition, on display Nov. 20, 2021 – April 10, 2022, draws from the Museum’s permanent collection and presents a variety of expressive gazes, each one giving hints toward the ways artists convey and construct the creative persona of the artist.

Featured Image credit: Samantha Wall; Dark Matter (Universal Body 1, 2, 3 and 4), 2016; Two-color lithographs (silver over black) on Arches 88 white collaborative Master Printer Frank Janzen; 30 x 22 inches each (unframed). Images courtesy of Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.


Artists featured in Up Close & Personal:

Magdalena Abakanowicz (Poland, 1930-2017), David Airhart (American, b. 1953), Paolo Arao (Filipino, b. 1977), Natalie Ball (Klamath/Modoc, b. 1980), Algis Balsys (b. 1948), Joe F. Brubaker (American, b. 1948), Lordan Bunch (American, born 1967), Mark Calderon (American, b. 1955), Phillip John Charette (Yup’ik, b. 1962), Long-Bin Chen (Taiwanese, b. 1964), Drew Daly (American,, b. 1973), Noah Davis (American, 1983–2015), Lesley Dill (American, b. 1950), Jane Dixon (British, b. 1963), Olafur Eliasson (Danish-Icelandic, b. 1967), Vernon Fisher (American, b. 1943), Till Freiwald (German, born Peru, 1963), John Grade (American, b. 1970), Lee M. Hale (American, b. 1958), Jane Hammond (American, b. 1950), Markus Hansen (German, b. 1963), Judy Hill (American, b. 1953), Susan Hiller (American, 1940–2019), Hosup Hwang (Korean, b. 1955), Titus Kaphar (American, b. 1976), William Kentridge (South African, b.1955), Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867–1945), Marianne Kolb (Swiss, b. 1958), Cynthia Lahti (Polish, b. 1963), Isaac Layman (American, b. 1977), Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnamese, b, 1968), Susie J. Lee (American, b. 1972), Kalup Linzy (American b. 1977), Hung Liu (American, born China, 1948–2021), Beth Lo (American, b. 1949), Robert Longo (American, b. 1953), Benoît Lorent (Belgian), Marilyn Lysohir (American, b. 1950), Robert Ernst Marx (American, born Germany, 1925–2020), Steven Miller (American), Brian Murphy (American, b. 1970), Scott Myles (Scottish, b. 1975), Ronna Neuenschwander (American, b. 1954), Bertjan Pot (Dutch, b. 1975), Julia Randall (American, b. 1968), Wendy Red Star (Crow/Apsáalooke, b. 1981), Jena Scott (American, b. 1967), Paul Shambroom (American, b. 1956), Roger Shimomura (American, b. 1939), Lucy Skaer (British, b. 1975), Kiki Smith (American, born Germany, 1954), Akio Takamori (Japanese and American, 1950–2017), Josephine Taylor (American, b. 1977), Storm Tharp (American, b. 1970), Terry Turrell (American, b. 1946), Friese Undine (American, b. 1965), Samantha Wall (American, born Korea, 1977), Kumi Yamashita (Japanese, b. 1968), Wanxin Zhang (Chinese, b. 1961)

The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.