In the Nude

In the Spring quarter of 2020, the interns in the AD&A Museum Internship Program were invited to curate online exhibitions utilizing the Museum’s Fine Arts Collection and Architecture & Design Collection. We are proud to present the work of guest curator Noelle Barr, a senior at UC Santa Barbara, with majors in Art History and Music.

Soyer - thoughtful

Moses Soyer (b. Russia, 1899-1987), Thoughtful Nude, 1970, Oil on canvas, 25 x 20 in. Gift of David and Jane Soyer

In the Western cultures, the depiction of a woman’s bare figure upholds a power structure built upon both objectifying the construct of femininity and satiating bodily desires through visual idealization. The Western canon of art has been written to privilege a white, male, heterosexual, cisgender artist. It has repeatedly excluded the woman, dismissing her as the secondary gender, contributing to the artistic genius heritage while concurrently submitting the woman to the male gaze.


Untitled - nude

Unknown Artist, Nude, last half 19th c., Tintype, Gift of Dr. Bancroft

The works on view here illustrate some female nudes in the Art, Design & Architecture Museum. Each image expresses associations with the break from academic painting, maternal iconography, exoticism, gender displacement, and the power dynamics that surface within an artist-sitter relationship. In the Nude provokes the paradoxical inclusive-exclusive submission of the female body in the fine art record, presenting works by Isabel Bishop, William Brice, Chaim Gross, John Nava, and Moses Soyer.


Brice - figure

William Brice (b. United States, 1921-2008), Figure and Red Rock, ca. 1965, Oil and magna on canvas 17 x 15 ⅛ in. (framed), Gift of Lynn K. Altman Family Trust


Chaim Gross (b. Austria 1904-1991), Untitled (Mother and Child Nude), 1975, Sepia wash, graphite, 17 ⅞ x 12 ¾ in., Gift of Mrs. Chaim Gross


John Nava (American, b. 1947), LC2 (2015), Oil on panel, 16 1/2 x 13 ½ in., Gift of the artist



Title image: Isabel Bishop (b. United States, 1902-1988), Seated Nude, n.d., Ink, wash, 8 x 6 ⅝ in., Gift of Irma Cavat


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