Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Huma Bhabha and Robert Mapplethorpe in Promenade: Flowers and Figuration

6 April—26 May 2024
Group Exhibition at Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, USA

External link

Both a verb and a noun, the word “promenade” describes a leisurely walk or stroll, as well as the place where said strolling is done. A promenade is taken for pleasure, display, or exercise. It is a performance, a presentation, an exhibition of the self.

The exhibition Promenade is designed to mimic the symmetrical architecture of large landscaped gardens like that of Blithewood manor, which lies just west of the Center for Curatorial Studies. Its layout emphasizes the pathways along which one can roam and wander through a broad selection of works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection. The artworks on view share a preoccupation with identity, illuminating the ways intensely personal experiences and broader political and cultural conditions shape the self—a theme that runs throughout the Hessel Collection.

Human figures appear in multiple ways, often layered with flowers or foliage. Bodies are revealed through compositions of fabric, paint, and textiles, layered on top of one another to produce distinct individuals and the environments they inhabit. More confrontational photographs reveal a metaphorical layering, in which the photographers and their subjects negotiate presentations of self, of community, and even of country.

Artists: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Huma Bhabha, Paul Chan, Kudzanai Chiurai, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Samuel Fosso, Nan Goldin, Rachel Harrison, Camille Henrot, Robert Kushner, Deana Lawson, Nikki S. Lee, Robert Mapplethorpe, Otobong Nkanga, Zohra Opoku, Gabriel Orozco, Gordon Parks, Malick Sidibé, Sable Elyse Smith, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Rosemarie Trockel, Lina Iris Viktor, Kehinde Wiley, and Joe Zucker.