About the Art:
Barbara Latham - Ballet, 1940s. Egg tempera on panel. Gift of the artist, 1973.028.0002.
Mortality has a long history in art, with skeletons, gravestones, and other macabre objects reminding us of our own impermanence. Danse Macabre explores the depiction of transience through a selection of paintings, prints, and sculpture from the permanent collection.
The pieces on display in this exhibit span several centuries. The earliest work, a woodcut designed by the German Renaissance artist Hans Holbein (1497-1543), belongs to the tradition of the Dance of Death, a popular subject in late medieval European art that developed in response to the Black Plague, the Hundred Years’ War, and other catastrophes. Luis Tapia’s Death Cart reflects the influence of medieval traditions on New Mexican culture by highlighting the rituals of the Penitente brotherhood. Sharron Stone’s Deer Horse and Elmer Schooley’s Dead Raven transform macabre subjects into virtuosic compositions, while Katherine Kerr Hoch’s Pink Reflected combines landscape and recollection in a personal response to death. From cemeteries to death carts, still lives to lively skeletons, visitors will encounter a diverse array of works, with each piece highlighting our complex reactions to impermanence.