Exhibition Opens: My Hero! Contemporary Art and Superhero Action

Posted: January 15, 2018

Dulce Pinzon

Viewers will experience the escapades of iconic superheroes in a collection of international artworks in a new exhibition at the the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. My Hero! Contemporary Art and Superhero Action opens officially February 3, but will be unveiled at a February 2 free family party for downtown Kalamazoo's Art Hop, 5-8 pm. The exhibition continues through May 13.

As contemporary idols, superheroes provide a rich source of inspiration for artists around the world, says Karla Niehus, interim curator of exhibitions. My Hero! celebrates and re-envisions the possibilities that come along with that magic cape or superhuman power.

My Hero! will feature art by nationally renowned artist Mark Newport (Keego Harbor, MI), who, for years, has been using superhero imagery to explore issues of identity and the definition of a hero.

Newport says about his work: Turning the superhero inside out is a way for me to present an understanding of masculinity. Superheroes suggest strength, but knitting them or covering them with embroidery provides a softness that is contradictory to their image.

My Hero!was organized by Carrie Lederer, curator of exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA, who says, For decades, artists have tapped the world of the superhero, eager to explore the alluring concept of what it means to have an avatar. We re captivated by miraculous, superhuman strength, startling bravery, the enthralling adventures, and even their weaknesses. A number of artists are also asking: What happens when Superman gets old and checks into assisted living? What does he look like and what s he up to?

Dulce Pinzon (Brooklyn, NY) makes photographs depicting the lives of immigrants as society s real superheroes, with images of Catwoman as a nanny and Superman delivering pizzas on his trusty bike (shown above).

Sacramento artist Mel Ramos anchors theMy Hero! exhibition. A pioneer in the genre of superhero art, Ramos has been using iconic images in his work for over 50 years.

Bedford Gallery also commissioned San Francisco artist Lizabeth Rossof to create a Batman warrior for My Hero! Created in Xi an, China, the piece depicts Batman as an historic terracotta warrior, and weighs 420 pounds. The Batman warrior is authentic in composition and detail and is crafted using the same natural material as the original statues.

About the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts believes the visual arts are for everyone, and that they inspire, transform, and fulfill. Since 1924, the KIA, a private non-profit organization, has presented opportunities to the community and visitors from around the world to enjoy and create art. The KIA holds more than 4,700 fine artworks in its permanent collection; presents touring and collection exhibitions in 10 galleries; offers four terms of art classes at the Kirk Newman Art School; and houses the KIA Gallery Shop, featuring artwork by area artists and international artisans.