Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

SLUMA Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions 

2023 Congressional Competition

May 26, 2023 - July 9, 2023

Opening Reception 5 p.m.-8 p.m., May 26, 2023

Parking for the opening reception will be available in the lot at the intersection of Lindell Boulevard and Spring Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

About the Exhibition

U.S. Rep. Cori Bush is proud to sponsor the 2023 Congressional Art Competition, honoring the inspiring work created by young artists in Missouri's First Congressional District. Each spring, members of Congress honor high school students from across the country through the visual art competition. Since the competition began, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.

Now in its 23rd year, the Artistic Discovery Contest showcases the talents of area high school students. This year's optional theme is "Show Me You STL." Every student who enters will receive a certificate of recognition and have their artwork featured in an exhibit at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art.

The Congressional district team judges all entries and selects one winner and two runners-up, as well as honorable mentions for each medium (photography, painting, drawing, mixed media, and computer-generated art) for the competition. The winning entry from each congressional district receives two round-trip airfare tickets to attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The winning entry from each congressional district is displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Exploring the Figure

About the Exhibition

Exploring the Figure surveys artworks from SLUMA's permanent collection that depict representations of the human figure. The exhibition begins with Hittite figures dating back to 2000-1700 B.C. They are joined by three-dimensional artworks from around the world, including Mexico, Africa and India. Each of these pieces provides a glimpse into different cultural practices and values.

Figurative depictions by George Catlin, Charles Bird King and George Caleb Bingham exposed the public to swaths of the American frontier and its inhabitants. Their art changed perceptions of life on the American frontier in the United States and abroad. Also included are Old Masters drawings by artists like Ludovico Carracci and Carl Loth. These drawings highlight the training the artists went through and the dedication they had to their craft.

This exhibition also features modern and contemporary artwork by a variety of well-known artists. Exploring the Figure presents traditional portraits, like those of Pablo Picasso, and demonstrates how artists explored abstraction and surrealism through works by Man Ray, René Magritte, and Giorgio de Chirico. The figure in art also interacts with social issues, as shown in the works of Richard Hamilton and Sheila Pree Bright. Finally, viewers can see different ways the figure is captured through photography, such as in Andy Warhol's Polaroids, Lew Portnoy's sports photography, and Kenda North's experimental underwater art photography.

Long-term Exhibitions

Einar Hákonarson: The Auschwitz Etchings

Over the course of a 40-year career, Einar Hákonarson (b. 1945) has become one of Iceland’s most distinguished artists, with 30 exhibitions in multiple countries. He was educated at the Iceland Academy of the Arts (Iceland’s national art school) and the Valand School of Fine Arts of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Primarily a painter, he has also won numerous awards for his work in printmaking, and he reignited interest in the medium of printmaking in Iceland. In 1965, as a student at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, he made a life-changing trip to Auschwitz. Reflecting on that experience, the artist stated that “this visit [to Auschwitz] influenced me tremendously. I simply was not the same as before.”

While a large portion of his work since the Auschwitz visit has dealt with human suffering, Hákonarson made a series of six etchings between 1965 and 1967 that specifically referenced his reflections on Auschwitz. He dedicated the six etchings to the victims of the Holocaust as well as to all victims of hatred, bigotry and injustice. Although intimate in scale, the etchings explore the spirit of the human person to persevere and triumph even in the midst of atrocities on such an epic scale. The etchings remain witnesses to humanity’s dark side, but they are also expressions of hope that in the face of such evil, the vigilant human spirit can still triumph and prevail.

We invite you to spend time with these works, to read the artist’s own reflections on the themes in each of the prints, and to see that, in light of the many contemporary global trouble spots, the message of the Auschwitz Etchings is timelier than ever.