As Is: Beauty and the Body in Contemporary Art

GVSU Arts Gallery (PAC 1121)
Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus
August 26, 2022 - November 4, 2022
Opening Reception: September 22, 2022, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Monday - 10am-5pm
Tuesday - 10am-5pm
Wednesday - 10am-5pm
Thursday - 10am-7pm
Friday - 10am-5pm

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Our bodies are both personal objects and shared spaces. They allow us to physically experience the world and are also complex entities where concepts of beauty, self, gender, and identity intersect. Although there is a long history of artists engaging the human form, increasingly, contemporary artists have embraced the complexity and imperfection of the body as it is.

This exhibition, selected from a private collection in Chicago, brings together 19 artists from the last 25 years who actively engage the body and its changing role through their work. Drawing on historical and progressive approaches to figuration, they celebrate the body as a source of inspiration and challenge traditional notions of beauty and representation.

The images and renderings of bodies in this exhibition are not neutral. They reveal each artist’s motifs, beliefs, and passions and raise questions about the representation of the human form in a world still saturated with idealized images of the body. More importantly, they provide meaning and help us see ourselves and how we see others within a culture that is increasingly conscious of age, race, gender, and status.


profile of woman with man's shoulders

Clio Newton, Jules, compressed charcoal on paper, 2019

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Featured Artists

Steven Assael (American, b. 1957)

Melissa Cooke Benson (American, b. 1982)

Aleah Chapin (American, b. 1986)

William Fisk (Canadian, b. 1969)

Rose Freymuth-Frazier (American, b. 1977)

Nick Gebhart (American, b. 1988)

Anthony Goicolea (American, b. 1971)

Susan Hauptman (American, 1947-2015)

Amanda Elizabeth Joseph (American)

Alyssa Monks (American, b. 1977)



Clio Newton (American, b. 1989)

Nicolas V. Sanchez (American, b. 1983)

Aaron Smith (American, b. 1964)

Maria Tomasula (American, b. 1958)

Christian Vincent (American, b. 1966)

Ruprecht von Kaufmann (German, b. 1974)

Eric White (American, b. 1968)

Robin F. Williams (American, b. 1984)

Zane York (American, b. 1978)



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A quick-reference guide to the exhibition themes as well as discussion prompts for educators to incorporate into their teaching.

A list of books, articles, and other media related to the exhibition available from the GVSU Libraries in a variety of formats including print and digital.


Events, both in-person and virtual, related to this exhibition and others.

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August 26, 2022 - November 4, 2022

GVSU Art Gallery (PAC 1121)
Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus
1 Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401


For special accommodation, please call:
(616) 331-3638

For exhibition details and media inquires, please email:
Joel Zwart, Curator of Exhibitions
[email protected]

For learning and engagement opportunities, please email:
Amanda Rainey, UX/Learning Manager
[email protected]

Page last modified June 2, 2022