Strange Narratives | Resilient Bodies


About the Exhibition

Our world can feel like it is on the precipice, pushed to its limits by perpetual crises. Artists have always registered the trauma and hope of an uncertain world in images that hold the weight of the climate outside their studios. It can be clear and present in the imagery, but often we find it lurking in the background, permeating color, in the turn of a line or the expression of a portrait. Artists see objects or jarring incidents from their daily life mirrored or absorbing meanings that relate to a more profound existential state. The artist Sidney Goodman remarked to Terry Gross on Fresh Air in 1981, "The longer one looks at something it gradually becomes more important. It starts to seep into the consciousness and gathers momentum. So what seemed at first not very interesting suddenly has possibilities for other implications."

This installation, from Woodmere's permanent collection, will examine a wide range of art that presents uncanny narratives, haunted scenarios, beautiful bodies, resilient and vulnerable reflecting the strange state of the world in perpetual time.   This exhibition is guest-curated by Robert Cozzolino.

Robert Cozzolino is an independent curator, art historian, and critic based in Minneapolis. He curates collaboratively, in partnership with artists, colleagues, and broad communities.

“Starting where you are” is critical to his practice—knowing the immediate context and deeper history of the place in which he works. Dr. Cozzolino is drawn to artists that make work about the full range of human experience, especially those who aspire to visually express the intangible, states of consciousness, and a full range of emotions. Although he has worked on topics from the 19th and 20th centuries, he regularly works with contemporary artists in examining history. He considers himself a curator of fluid time, not bound to the labels and bins imposed on the field.

From 2004-2016 he was a curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and remains close to the Philadelphia arts community. He has curated over 40 exhibitions working at PAFA, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (2016-2024), Chazen Museum of Art (2001-2005), and The Art Institute of Chicago (1993-1997). They include: Reimagining Native/American Art (2023-24), Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art (2021-22), World War I and American Art (2016-17), Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis (2014-15), David Lynch: The Unified Field (2014) and many others.