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    Join us for the 2014 Art Auction Season.

  • Sam Francis

    Five Decades of Abstract Expressionism from California Collections
    JANUARY 26 – APRIL 20, 2014

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    Studio Art Classes
    Spring/Summer 2014

  • Jules Tavernier: Artist and Adventurer
    FEBRUARY 16 — MAY 11, 2014

    Jules Tavernier, A Balloon in Mid-Air, 1875. Oil on canvas, 30 x 50 in. Courtesy of North Point Gallery, San Francisco.

Collection Spotlight

  • Oedipus and Antigone, n.d.

    Oedipus and Antigone, n.d.

     

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Dark Metropolis: Irving Norman's Social Surrealism

September 23, 2006 – January 7, 2007

Unmasking the realities of human nature and the contemporary society in which we live, Irving Norman aimed only "to tell the truth of our time." His highly detailed paintings are powerful critiques of modern life, painted in the hope of promoting change. The atrocities Norman witnessed in volunteer service during the Spanish Civil War jolted his consciousness, and he began to express his experiences through drawing and then painting from the 1940s to the 1980s. With the belief that his paintings could act as agents of social reform, Norman felt that pointing out the inequities, horrors and foibles of human behavior might somehow cause people to reconsider their actions. Most paintings were intended for public institutions, particularly museums, where the artist thought "all people could come and study them and contemplate."

Norman's canvases are monumental in scale and teem with swarming figures, clone-like in their repetition, yet retaining elements of individuality. These figures are constricted by small urban spaces, caught in the crunch of bodies that fill city streets and subways, and decimated by the pain of poverty and the horror of war. The darkness of his visions is relieved by his jewel-like color harmonies and sharp wit. Once the spectator is engaged, Norman's unsettling visions cannot be ignored—or forgotten. Through scale and infinite detail he makes the immensity and atrocities of war and contemporary society comprehensible. While often horrific and terrifying, these visions contain a deeper message: one of hope.

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216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
916.808.7000
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216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

General Information: 916.808.7000
Admission Desk: 916.808.1184

Hours

Tue – Sun: 10 AM – 5 PM
Thu: 10 AM – 9 PM
Closed Mondays*, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
*Open select Mondays
10 AM – 5 PM:
Presidents Day
Labor Day