‘Men of Steel, Wonder Woman’ Delves Into the Ethos of the American Superhero in San Antonio

by Glasstire July 3, 2019
Artwork by Renée Cox, 1998

Renée Cox, Chillin’ with Liberty (from the Rajé series), 1998. Cibachrome print. 60 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Men of Steel, Wonder Woman (MOSWOW), organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, takes as its inspiration two of the most iconic comic book heroes in American history: Superman and Wonder Woman. 

Now on view at the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA), the exhibition takes a look at how these characters emerged in the wake of economic disparity and world war in the 1930s, and what their iconography means today in response to issues of race, gender, and sexuality. 

“Superheroes personify our collective hopes and dreams,” says Katie Luber, the museum’s director in a press release. “From their earliest incarnations in 1930s comic books to the recent megahit Avengers: Endgame, it’s no wonder that so many artists have found inspiration in these cultural icons, exploring the relationship of Superman and Wonder Woman to national identity, American values, social politics, sexuality, and the concept of humanity. We believe these works will provoke powerful conversations.” 

The exhibition features more than seventy works including paintings, photographs, installations, and videos by a wide range of artists, including Laylah Ali, Dara Birnbaum, Renée Cox, Mary Beth Edelson, Fahamu Pecou, Pope.L, Mel Ramos, Norman Rockwell, and Jim Shaw, among others.

The museum will also present a host of stellar artist lectures in conjunction with the exhibition. See below for the schedule.

Visiting Lectures 

Dara Birnbaum: A Four-Decade Trajectory of Provocative Video Art. Tuesday, July 23 | 6:30–7:30 p.m. | Free

Jerri Allyn: Visiting Artist Workshop  Saturday, July 27 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  $35 members | $45 non-members | Register: samuseum.org/calendar

Enrique Chagoya: The Art of Appropriation from Pop Art to  Reverse Anthropology and Reverse Modernism. Tuesday, August 6 | 6:30–7:30 p.m. | Free

Michael Ray Charles: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Tuesday, August 20 | 6:30-7:30 p.m. | Free

Robert Pruitt: The Influence of Comics. Tuesday, August 27 | 6:30–7:30 p.m. | Free 

Men of Steel, Wonder Woman (MOSWOW), is on view at the San Antonio Museum of Art through September 1, 2019.


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