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The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity and Politics

During the tumultuous 1960s and 70s, the prolific artist Ralph Arnold made photocollages that appropriated and commented upon mass media portrayals of gender, sexuality, race and politics.

Arnold’s complex visual arrangements of photography, painting and text were built upon his own multilayered identity as a black, gay veteran and prominent member of Chicago’s art community, hence the title for the exhibition, which is drawn from one of the artist’s more personal pieces. Arnold participated in some of the era’s most provocative exhibitions yet by the mid-1980s he increasingly focused on his teaching and service to the art community. This exhibition brings together Arnold’s most significant contributions to the art of collage, including a recently rediscovered triptych made for the 1968 MCA Chicago exhibition, Violence in Recent American Art. It also includes work by contemporaries and colleagues like Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Paschke, and Barbara Jones-Hogu to add further context and enrich our understanding of Arnold’s legacy.

The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity and Politics

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