Healing, Knowing, Seeing the Body
The human body has served as a site of enduring wonder and fascination, as well as contestation and violence, for millennia. Healing, Knowing, Seeing the Body explores this ongoing curiosity through historic and contemporary works of art that expose the diverse ways that people have attempted to understand the human body in its many physiological, psychological, and symbolic dimensions.
The exhibition is organized around three major themes. The first theme, Healing the Body, features works of art that speak to global healing practices and cross-cultural perspectives on health, illness, and wellness. The second theme, Knowing the Body, includes art that reveals the many ways that artists, doctors, healers, and scholars have come to understand and conceptualize the body. The final theme, Seeing the Body, focuses on works of art that depict the human body, which prompt us to question how this act of visualizing has shaped the ways we come to know and heal the body.
By adopting a trans-historical, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary approach, this exhibition will challenge the dominance that Western biomedicine has maintained in much of the world in recent years and, in so doing, unsettle the white, heterosexual, cisgender body as an idealized norm. Likewise, it is meant to prompt dialogue about many issues around the body, health, and healthcare that are relevant to our communities today, including racially, socially, and economically based health disparities, the stigma surrounding certain health conditions such as mental illness, and barriers to accessing care.
Please note: The Spencer Museum continues to assess the safety of reopening our galleries to the public while following best practices for social distancing. Therefore, exhibition dates may change. We appreciate your patience as we respond to this ongoing situation.