December 22, 2012 - April 21, 2013
Works of art can lead a double life. Often, one side is revealed to the public while the other—the back—remains forever hidden from view. The exhibition Backstories takes this circumstance as its point of departure. More than thirty masterworks from the Clark’s permanent collection (including two-dimensional works, such as paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs) will be displayed on pedestals so that viewers can walk around them. Seen this way, the works of art tell their little-known “backstories” and reveal the ways they were made, the way they have been cared for by collectors, and the many changes they have survived. Using “the back” as an artistic theme, the exhibition will also present pictures in which artists portray the human back.
The exhibition will include a variety of objects from more than five centuries, including works by Hans Memling, Peter Paul Rubens, and Winslow Homer; a silver milk jug once prized by Benjamin Franklin; and propagandistic porcelain from the Russian Revolution.