Press Release

Body Language: Figuration in Modern and Contemporary Art Opens to the Public on February 25

January 26, 2017

TUCSON, ARIZONA (January 26, 2017) − Human behavior can be interpreted in myriad ways and differs between cultures and eras. Like the symbols and codes inherent in a range from narrative and representational art to pure abstraction, meaning is subjective and affected by viewers’ perceptions of the images and marks before them.

BODY LANGUAGE: Figuration in Modern and Contemporary Art is an exhibition of figurative art that explores themes of nonverbal, human communication where physical stances such as facial expressions, body postures, and gestures are used to convey meaning. The exhibition at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (TMA) opens to the public on Saturday, Feb. 25, and will remain on view through July 9.

“In researching the collection of the Tucson Museum of Art for this exhibition, I found an incredible variety and number of works that depict the expressive body,” said Dr. Julie Sasse, Chief Curator, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Curator of Latin American Art. “Figurative art is alive and well in contemporary art, and it is the subject of wide-ranging interpretations of relationships between people, varying social conditions, and the overall human experience.”

Expressive figuration in modern art is rooted in mythical images from ancient Greek art. In the early 20th century, the expressive body expanded to greater dimensions which include stylistic experimentation, abstraction, and realism, as well as a range of emotions from the depths of despair and anxiety to exhilaration and joy. At the end of the 20th century, postmodern artists, who had moved away from the figure, returned to the subject with a newfound intensity or embraced it through the frankness of photorealism. This exhibition includes artists who rely on the human figure to examine notions of beauty and identity and to establish psychological states of being. Also seen in the exhibition are bodies that express love, exhilaration inherent in dance, and the turmoil of interpersonal conflict. Artists in the exhibition range from the historically significant including Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol to local artists and photographers including Pulitizer Prize winner José Galvez, a Tucson native, and former Arizona Daily Star and Los Angeles Times photographer.

The complete artist list is as follows: Carlos Almaraz, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Jack Balas, Leonard Baskin, Robert Bechtle, José Bernal. Ardyth Bernstein, Arne Besser, Fernando Botero, Curt Brill, Alice Briggs, Michael Cajero, Alberto Castro-Leñero, Daryl Childs, Robert Colescott, Craig Cully, James Davis, Stephen De Staebler, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Margaret Bailey Doogan, Max Ernst, Oded Feingersh, Viola Frey, Jose Galvez, Carmen Lomas Garza, Larry Gipe, David Gonzalez, Hal Gould, Goya, James Havard, Linda Ingraham, Luis Jimenez, Susan Kay Johnson, Fritz Kaeser, Joseph Labate, Earl Linderman, Larry Madrigal, Roberto Marquez, Tony Martin, Roberto Matta, Casey McKee, Judy Miller, David Miretsky, Luis Francisco Mora, Manuel Neri, Dennis Oppenheim, Pablo Picasso, Andrew Polk, Ken Prehoditch, Alfred Quiroz, Holly Roberts, Norman Rockwell, Andrew Rush, Chris Rush, Josephine Sacabo, Buffy SainteMarie, Joseph Santore, Miriam Schapiro, Fritz Scholder, George Segal, Gary Setzer, Raphael Soyer, Joyce Tenneson, Andy Warhol, John Wenger, Antonia Wright, and Amy Zuckerman.

Museum Directions
The Museum is located at 140 N. Main Avenue in historic downtown Tucson at the crossroads of
W. Alameda and N. Main Avenue. Parking is free in the Museum’s lot on W. Washington Street.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Monday.
Free First Thursday: Play! Happy Hours @ TMA: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Free admission for all, make, drink, and explore.

Second SundAZe @ TMA: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Free admission for Arizona and Sonora, Mexico residents every second Sunday of the month, including Picture This! Art for Families activities: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Fun for all ages.

Adult/$12; Senior (65+)/$10; Student (with college ID)/$7; Youth (13-17)/$7; Child (12 and
under)/Free; Veteran with ID/Free; Museum Member/Free.

About the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block’s mission is Connecting Art to Life. The Museum was founded 1924 in the El Presidio Historic District of downtown Tucson. It is Southern Arizona’s premier presenter of fine art and art education programs.

The Museum features permanent and traveling exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary, Native American, American West, Latin American, and Asian art. The 74,000 square foot Museum offers guided tours, education programs, and studio art classes in a contemporary building. The Museum’s Historic Block of 19th and 20th C. adobe and Mission Revival-style buildings, encompassing an entire four-acre city block, includes the John K. Goodman Pavilion of Western Art, displaying the Museum’s notable art of the American West collection, the highly acclaimed Museum restaurant Café a la C’Art, and additional exhibition and studio spaces. For more information, please visit or call (520) 624-2333. Follow the latest events on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. TMA is a private 501(c)(3) charitable arts and education organization.

For general media inquiries, contact Kelly Wiehe, Director of Communications and External Affairs, at or 520-616-2687