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Symbols and Archetypes September 26 - December 14, 2019

St. Margaret and the Dragon, illuminated manuscript page

In Fall 2019, the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery will present an exhibition that looks at imagery from different eras, cultures, and disciplines—through the lens of the symbols and archetypes that they share. Read more

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom January 9 - February 29, 2020

Alexis Esquivel Bermudez

Visionary Aponte: Art & Black Freedom takes as its point of departure an extraordinary—and now lost—historical artifact: a “Book of Paintings” created by José Antonio Aponte. Aponte was a free black carpenter, artist, and former soldier who was also the leader of an ambitious antislavery movement in Cuba during the Age of Revolution.Read more

Dream for Light Years: Ali Smith and Michael Alec Rose March 19 - June 7, 2020

Ali Smith, Underworld

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to present Look, Hear!: Ali Smith and Michael Alec Rose, a collaboration between California-based painter Ali Smith and Blair School of Music professor of composition Michael Rose. Read more

Refuting "Noble Savages": Reflections of Nature in Ancient Mesoamerican Artifacts May 9 - September 13, 2019

Ball Player in Warrior Bird Costume

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is pleased to present a collection of ancient Latin American artifacts curated by undergraduate students as part of a semester-long course led by Dr. Markus Eberl, associate professor of anthropology. The exhibition, on view May 9–September 13, 2019, focuses on the connection between nature and culture among Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people (ca. 500 to 1500 C.E.). Read More Read More

Susan DeMay, Divergent Practices: A Career in Ceramics June 13 - September 13, 2019

Susan DeMay

Susan DeMay began her ceramics career as a graduate student at what was then called the George Peabody College for Teachers, where she studied art from 1977 to 1979. After earning her M.S. degree and establishing a pottery studio of her own, she was invited to return to the Vanderbilt campus to teach. Nearly forty years later, she will be celebrating her retirement as a professor in Vanderbilt’s Department of Art. This exhibition surveys ceramics DeMay produced over decades of teaching, running her own production line, and creating artwork in clay. Read More

Then & Now January 10 - March 1, 2019

The Virgin, Christ Child, and St. John

Nearly a millennium after its origination in fifth-century Chinese textiles, the woodcut became a popular medium in Europe, thanks to the prevalence of paper manufacturing in late-fourteenth-century France and Germany. The medium has continued to resonate in print practices globally, with artists still creating woodcuts today. Then & Now: Five Centuries of Woodcuts spotlights prints from Vanderbilt’s collections, surveying the wide range of woodcuts created over 500 years and across many cultures. Read More

Digital Futures, Archaeological Pasts 2018

Photo illustration of the 3D scanning of a Red-figure skyphos

In spring 2018, nine students in the History of Art seminar, “Exhibiting Historical Art: Digital Approaches to Ancient Greek Ceramics,” studied a selection of ancient Mediterranean antiquities in the collection of the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, and curated this exhibition. The objects range in date from the 6th century BCE to the 1st century CE and include Greek and Etruscan vases, a Greek coin, and a Greco-Roman marble sculptural head. In addition to exploring each object’s historical context and significance, the students learned photogrammetry, a process for generating digital models of 3D objects through photography. By creating and printing these digital 3D models, students sought insight into how new, digital approaches might facilitate research into, and engagement with, ancient material and visual culture. Read More

Pompeii Archive: Recent Photographs by William Wylie October 25 - December 6, 2018

Body cast, Macellum (VII.9.7), Pompeii

Featuring a selection of recent work by American photographer William Wylie, Pompeii Archive, explores the famous archeological site of a volcanic eruption in 79 C.E. with highly evocative images, shot with analog black and white film on a large format camera. Alongside his contemporary photographs are several by Giorgio Sommer (1834–1914), who was involved in excavation of the site in the nineteenth century. Read More

Joyce Tenneson - Botanical Beauty July 26 - August 18


Joyce Tenneson—Botanical Beauty presents work drawn from two portfolios by the artist, both of which feature atmospheric, poetic photographs of flowers in high contrast with a black background. The first series, Flower Portraits, presents sepia-toned images of flowers in decay. Tenneson has adeptly captured movement, wonder, and vibrancy in them, as well as a sublime beauty. Intimacy, the second portfolio, features a wide variety of flowers, photographed in color in a sensuous, almost ethereal, manner. These two series together encourage viewers to study the unique shapes, textures, and marks of individual flowers and, in so doing, to celebrate biodiversity and the life cycle of plants. Read More

Au Coeur De Mai '68 April 30- November 16, 2018

On the Boulevard Sant-Michel in the Quartier Latin

It hardly needs saying that 1968 was a year that forever changed the global social, cultural, and political landscape. The world over, the historically marginalized and disenfranchised spoke out against what they perceived as the criminal indifference of those in power. In France, these protests consisted of strikes, occupations, and demonstrations against the de Gaulle administration that became collectively known as Mai 68. Read More

Syriac: Preserving an Endangered World Culture February 1 - March 2, 2018

wood carved cross

For nearly two thousand years, Christians across the Middle East and Asia have shared a common heritage through Syriac language and culture. Many of these communities face the threat of extinction today. In response, this exhibit showcases the enduring presence of Syriac culture around the globe. The exhibit features historical reproductions as well as items from the family collection of Rev. Dr. P.K. Geevarghese, priest of the first Indian Orthodox parish in Tennessee. Read More

America Creative: Portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler February 1 - March 2, 2018

Tom Wolfe

Everett Raymond Kinstler, now 91 years old, is America’s foremost portrait painter. In his career, he has rendered portraits of more than 2,000 individuals—leaders in almost every professional field, including eight United States presidents. Read More

Looking Back (Looking Forward): The Black Mountain Experience January 11 - March 2, 2108

Merce Cunningham at Black Mountain College

From its inception, Black Mountain College was an incubator for experimentation, placing the importance of an integrated liberal arts education at its center. This innovative school, founded in 1933 in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, valued equally the visual arts and the so-called applied arts, along with poetry, music, and dance. Read More

FAMOUS! (and not-so-famous): Polaroids by Andy Warhol January 11 - March 2, 2018

Kirkland Hall

From 1970 to 1987, Andy Warhol took scores of Polaroid and black-and-white photographs, the vast majority of which were never seen by the public. These images often served as the basis for his commissioned portraits, silk-screen paintings, drawings, and prints. Read More

Who Are We? Identity and the Contemporary Photographic Portrait September 11 - December 7, 2017

Jewel-Joy Stevens, America's Little Yankee Miss

The photographic portrait, with its roots in early nineteenth-century France, has continually challenged how we view ourselves. The actual practice has become increasingly fluid over time and almost as difficult to grasp as the nature of identity itself. Read More

American Artists and the Legacy of the Grand Tour, 1880-1960 June 15 - August 26, 2017

La Torre Del Mangia Siena

In a historical sense, the Grand Tour was a seventeenth- to eighteenth-century phenomenon in which the young, usually male and aristocratic, members of English and Northern European families visited great cities and societies of the European continent. Read More

American Modernism at Mid-Century: The Work of Morris Davidson April 28 - September 17, 2017

Morris Davidson

Morris Davidson’s career as a painter spanned the decades in which American artists experimented with a wide variety of artistic expression, from social realism to abstraction. Davidson followed these trends in his own work as he studied art in Baltimore, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with painters in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and eventually in Paris. Read More

The Dada Effect: An Anti-Aesthetic and Its Influence March 16 - May 27, 2017


Dada was an international multimedia artistic and literary movement founded in Zurich in 1916 to reimagine and, in fact, tear down prevailing forms of art that had dominated the Western tradition. As early as 1915, while proto-dadaists such as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray worked in New York forming their anti-establishment philosophy of art, Zurich Dada was beginning to develop independently in the shadow of the First World War. Read More

Marilyn Murphy - Realism Subverted January 19 - March 3, 2017


This exhibition is presented in honor of Marilyn Murphy, who will retire in 2017 after 37 years of teaching in the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University. Marilyn Murphy—Realism Subverted will feature paintings and drawings in which reality is turned upside down in dreamlike scenes with gravity-defying objects and figures diligently focused on a task. Read More