Swans, Swine, and Sirens
The San Jose Museum of Art will highlight contemporary works that feature scenes from classical Greek mythology this spring. Swans, Swine, and Sirens comprises 20 works on paper from SJMA’s permanent collection. The exhibition includes works by Jeanne Aurel-Schneider, Romare Bearden, Red Grooms, Erle Loran, Roberto Matta, Reuben Nakian, Fritz Scholder, and Hans Sieverding. Also included is the video game “Let’s Play! Ancient Greek Punishment!” by Pippin Barr, in which players futilely attempt to avoid the fates of Sisyphus, Tantalus, Prometheus, and the Danaids.
“Tales of monsters, heroes, and gods found in Greek mythology have captured imaginations for millennia,” said Rory Padeken, curatorial assistant. “With their universal themes of love and betrayal, pride and arrogance, perseverance and defeat, it’s no wonder that these stories continue to be relevant in popular culture today.”
Highlights of the exhibition include Circe into Swine (1979) by Romare Bearden, drawings from the series “Leda and the Swan” by Reuben Nakian, and prints from Roberto Matta’s portfolio “Hom’mere Il – l’Eautre,” the surrealist artist’s illustrations for Homer’s Oddysey. The watercolor Winged Victory of Samothrace (1976) by Red Grooms, a recent gift to the Museum from Barbara and Dixon Farley, will be on view to the public for the first time in this exhibition.