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SLUMA Exhibitions

Current Exhibitions 

Ink Tributes

August 25, 2023-December 30, 2023

Opening Reception 5 p.m.-8 p.m., August 25, 2023

About the Exhibition

Marlon West of Disney Animation was content to make photo tableaus of action figures as a silly creative outlet between Zoom meetings and housework during COVID-19 lockdown. That came to a crashing halt with the murder of George Floyd, when he started these comic-book-style tributes. He says, "For many of us Black nerds, Marvel's characters are particularly relatable. They are often hated and hunted by the powers that be. They are aliens, or born different, or having to deal with harsh cards dealt to them. They are feared, despised, shunned, and misunderstood. There isn't a more American form of portraiture than black 'inks' over white, to honor those that faced this nation's fear and loathing of the Black body."

There is a woman shot in bed, a woman shot while peering from her window investigating strange sounds, and a man shot on his own couch eating ice cream. There's a runner chased and killed on the street, a child pulled from his bed, beaten and killed over a supposed insult, and another child crushed under guards for throwing a sandwich. There's a writer and birdwatcher threatened with police action and lied about, a Black officer who put himself in harm's way on January 6, and a white officer murdered by the same white supremacist mob, his death still unsolved. There's a youngster shot while walking home from buying candy and a talented violinist who was killed by police because he looked "suspicious" for wearing a ski mask to keep warm. There are also defenders of civil and women's rights.

About the Artist

Marlon West is an award-winning animator, head of effects, and VFX supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Divergent Paths

August 25, 2023-December 30, 2023

Opening Reception 5 p.m.-8 p.m., August 25, 2023

About the Exhibition

Divergent Paths surveys artworks from the permanent collection of Saint Louis University Museum of Art, examining how artists from different periods and artistic movements have worked in divergent styles. The exhibition showcases a wide range of artworks, spanning from the early 20th century to the present day and highlights the diverse artistic approaches and techniques employed by the featured artists.

The exhibition begins by exploring works from the 20th century, a period marked by the emergence of major avant-garde movements in European art. Artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Fernand Léger were at the forefront of this transformative era, breaking away from traditional artistic conventions and exploring new forms of expression.

Divergent Paths also acknowledges the notable divergence of Der Blaue Reiter group, which included Wassily Kandinsky among its members. This collective was motivated by a profound desire to address feelings of alienation in the face of rapid modernization and to delve into the spiritual significance of art.

As the exhibition progresses into the 20th century, it examines the emergence of Postmodernism, a period characterized by a dissolution of boundaries between high and popular culture, as well as concurrent developments of various artistic styles. This period witnessed a divergence from traditional artistic approaches, paving the way for innovative and experimental art forms that reflected the evolving social, cultural, and artistic landscapes of the time.

Divergent Paths offers a comprehensive and insightful examination into how artists from different periods and movements have taken distinct artistic paths, shaping the trajectory of art history. It also highlights the dynamic and transformative power of art in shaping cultural narratives and human experiences.

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.