A group exhibition of more than thirty works which incorporate the skeleton as subject. Curated in part by the James Ensor scholar Xavier Tricot, the wide range of artists include Francis Alÿs, Donald Baechler, Matthew Barney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lynda Benglis, Michaël Borremans, Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Broodthaers, Salvador Dali, Paul Delvaux, Wim Delvoye, Marlene Dumas, James Ensor, Jan Fabre, Roland Flexner, Katharina Fritsch, Adam Fuss, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jannis Kounellis, Sherrie Levine, Tony Matelli, McDermott & McGough, Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Pablo Picasso, Jack Pierson, Lady Pink, Sigmar Polke, Félicien Rops, Luc Tuymans, Jan van Oost, and Andy Warhol. A full color catalogue accompanies the exhibition, and includes an essay written for the show by Mr. Tricot.
Artistic representation of the skeleton first became common in medieval times. Engaged in human activity, with human characteristics, the skeleton figured in moralistic or religious tableaus by 15th century artists. Itwas also representative of the plague and the subsequent fear of death by disease. A similar preoccupation with the skeleton reemerges during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, when skeletons and skulls were integrated into the language of graffiti art, and artists incorporated the loaded symbol in their work. Tricot also points out the skeleton's representation in 18th century caricature and 19th century popular culture; it was used for sarcasm and critique in political cartoons and as campaigns against disease on public posters. In addition, the theme served as enticement to visit the local circus, which exploited its "living skeleton."
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