Look closely at the jumble of faces and figures. Do you recognize anyone? What similarities do you notice amongst these figures? What differences?
Why would the artist reach across time and space to combine an assortment of historical figures?
Although titled Landscape, Mark Tansey’s painting has little to do with nature. Tansey uses artistic conventions of landscape, such as a horizon line and receding space, but the scene is fantastical and imaginative. A mountain of crumbled figures dominates the center of the canvas, representing dismantled sculptures of prominent male figures from history.
The message is contradictory—leaders’ legacies are preserved through art, but whose legacies will escape the dustbin of history? The image alludes to contemporary mass media, in which bits and pieces of information break loose of their historical grounding and freely combine into new configurations. Tansey’s one color palette is reminiscent of sepia-toned photographs, old films, or vintage television.
Why do we bother to examine the past?
What do you think about these figures who, once important and well-known in their own time, now lie in a fragmentary pile, broken and forgotten? How can you weave your past, present, and future into a legacy that will be remembered?
What does power have to do with justice?
Exhibition sponsored by Kenneth C. Griffin
Learning and engagement programming for We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by:
Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates, & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. | Johnny and Jeanie Morris, Bass Pro Shops | Alturas Foundation | Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc. | Sotheby’s | Bob and Becky Alexander | Marybeth and Micky Mayfield | Lamar and Shari Steiger | Jeff and Sarah Teague / Citizens Bank | Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities | Avis and Bill Bailey | Scarlett and Neff Basore | June Carter Family | Terri and Chuck Erwin | Jackye and Curtis Finch | The Harrison and Rhonda French Family | Jim and Susan von Gremp | Laurice Hachem | Shannon and Charles Holley | Valorie and Randy Lawson / Lawco Energy Group | Donna and Mack McLarty | Steve and Susan Nelson | Neal and Gina Pendergraft | Helen Porter | JT and Imelda Rose | Lee and Linda Scott | Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Catherine and Michael Mayton, Trustees | William Reese Company