Exhibition Examines The "Ideal Figure" Through Art From Around The World And Over The Centuries

May 7-August 17, 2003

Stanford, CA, February 10, 2003—The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University announces an exhibition, to open May 7, that presents a cross-cultural perspective on ideals of physical beauty. The exhibition, entitled The Ideal Figure, includes objects as diverse as a Roman torso of Doryphorus dating to 50 B.C. and an African mask with full costume from the Luvale people made in the mid-20th century. The exhibition is open free to the public through August 17.

This exhibition is part of ongoing efforts at the Cantor Arts Center to create innovative and wide-ranging dialogues about works of art in its collection. The sculptures in the gallery face each other across a large circle, "conversing" about their various figural ideals. Visitors can participate in the conversation by entering the circle. The exhibition also includes materials that raise issues concerning figural ideals in contemporary popular culture, academia, medicine, media, and art. This exhibition is made possible by the Halperin Exhibition Fund.

"We are excited to be presenting this," said exhibition co-organizer Lauren Silver, Associate Curator for Education at the Cantor Arts Center. "The exhibition allows us to spotlight objects from our collection and at the same time address profound ideas and attitudes prevalent in cultures' views of the ideal human body."

"We encourage visitors to consider questions raised by the exhibition as they view works of art in other galleries as well," explained Manuel Jordán Pérez, the Cantor Arts Center's Phyllis Wattis Curator of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. "Throughout the Center we have added observations, contributed by the public, about specific objects. We also invite visitors to submit their own thoughts on comment cards."


On Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, at 2 p.m., Big Moves modern dance ensemble will perform in the Cantor Arts Center auditorium, followed by discussions with the dancers. Big Moves is an organization dedicated to educating the public about issues relating to body image and size acceptance.