Past Exhibitions


Past Exhibitions


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  • Weldon Kees

    March 7, 2014 thru March 23, 2014



  • Society and Style: Prints from the Sheldon Museum of Art

    January 10, 2014 thru March 23, 2014

    This exhibition, organized by students in Prof. Alison Stewart’s “History of Prints: New Media of the Renaissance” class, explores how societies and styles changed over the course of Early Modern Europe (1500-1800) from the time of the advent of printing on paper to the Industrial Revolution through little-seen printed masterpieces from Sheldon’s collection.

  • New Deal and New Opportunity: Women and the Art of the Great Depression

    October 22, 2013 thru January 26, 2014

    The paintings, photographs, and prints featured in this exhibition capture the accomplishments and struggles of the Depression era. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted the recovery plan known as the New Deal, several programs were created that would strengthen the economy and give employment and financial relief to those in need, including artists. Government sponsored art projects under the new deal also provided female artists with unprecedented professional opportunities that paid them a salary equal to men, gave them equipment, materials, and training and exhibited their art nationwide. The contributions of these women continued the advancement and progression of female artists in the coming decades and are an important legacy of the New Deal.



  • John Pfahl: Points of View

    August 23, 2013 through January 5, 2014

    John Pfahl was a pioneer in the transformation of American landscape photography in the 1970s, and his body of work has influenced generations of artists.

    For more than four decades, Pfahl’s approach has encouraged us to contemplate images conceptually and visually and to consider the evolving ways in which humans interact with the land socially and photographically. Pfahl has captured such changes through numerous series that deal with the environment, both natural and constructed. This exhibition includes prints from his first formal series, Altered Landscapes (1974–78), and from Power Places (1981–84); all are from the permanent collection of the Sheldon Museum of Art.



  • The Glass House

    through September 20, 2013

    As part of Sheldon's ongoing 50th anniversary celebrations Irish artist Eamon O’Kane will construct a scale model of the Philip Johnson Glass House in the Great Hall. O’Kane’s simple wood structure will allow visitors to walk into and around it as it will be open on all sides. Within it a plasma screen will show an animation of Glass House set in nature. The installation coincides with the exhibition “Look for Beauty” that examines Johnson’s three museum structures: Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and Sheldon Museum of Art.

  • "Look for Beauty": Philip Johnson and Art Museum Design

    through October 13, 2013

    Look for Beauty examines three Johnson-designed museum buildings: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 1960; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1961; and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (now the Sheldon Museum of Art), University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1963. While Johnson (1906-2005) designed several museums and galleries during his long career, these three early projects form a coherent trio to study the arc of Johnson’s developing personal aesthetic that wed International Style modernism to historical architectural references.

  • Its Surreal Thing: The Temptation of Objects

    October 4, 2013 through January 5, 2014

    Surrealism loves a duality. Especially one it can hate—that is, one that wields a contradiction. Day and night, waking and dreaming, the rational and irrational, conscious and unconscious, and so on—when we fixate on the collision of such incompatibles, we drop the silky comfort of the real and slip into the wiry vertigo of the surreal.

    The idea here is that there is always more to life than what we see outright. The promise of something else—a view to the obscured—resides not solely in the things themselves, but in the attraction they exert on us. Held in this tension, things will divulge more than we’re accustomed to seeing. The flashlight of surrealism is to reveal the secret charms and repulsions that subtend the night world of ordinary and extraordinary things.



    Its Surreal Thing explores the temptations of objects—works of art and design and sometimes the confusion of the two. The exhibition is not about a movement or its history, but about the effect of surrealism before, during, and after the historical movement. Its Surreal Thing ranges from post-Impressionism to postmodernism, with Constructivism and Pop along the way.



  • Fifty Gifts for Fifty Years

    through September 15, 2013

    This exhibition celebrates the Sheldon Museum of Art’s dedicated community of collectors and donors in Lincoln, across the state of Nebraska, and around the nation and marks the completion of a two-year campaign to acquire fifty works of art to commemorate the museum’s golden anniversary.

  • The Naked Museum

    May through June 2013

    A return of the muses to the museum. Poetry, music, drama, history, dance, and a later muse, performance art.

    Celebrate the home of the muses, the site of inspiration, and the beauty of place that is the Sheldon Museum of Art.

    To focus on Sheldon's Philip Johnson–designed building during the commemoration of its 50th anniversary, all artwork has been removed from the galleries and Great Hall.

    Guidebooks created by students in the UNL College of Architecture will be available for self-paced tours of the museum's architectural details.

  • The Shadow of the Natural

    through April 28

    UNL Honors Program students organized The Shadow of the Natural as part of Andrea Bolland's "Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to Modern" class. The exhibition, on display in the Focus Gallery, explores the issue of naturalism in photography and considers the close link between photography, nature, and truth.

    Is a photo a mere record of what is seen by the taker? Does the artfulness of a nature image belong to the natural object or to the photograph itself? Do such images play a role in constructing our idea of what nature, or human nature, is or should be?



  • My Nebraska/Nuestra Nebraska

    through March 17

    Made up of photography from Nebraska’s Latino youth, the exhibition is one of three photography exhibitions opening at the Sheldon in celebration of Lincoln’s third biennial Photofest.
    The exhibition will consist of juried photographs from Latino students across the state of Nebraska. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the daily lives of individuals in the Latino community and will travel to venues throughout Nebraska.

  • Modern Madness: The Armory Show Revisited

    through April 21

    In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the International Exhibition of Modern Art at Manhattan’s Sixty-Ninth Regiment Armory in February 1913, Sheldon Museum of Art presents Modern Madness: The Armory Show Revisited, an exhibition of the art that introduced Americans to European modernism. The 1913 exhibition instantly produced controversy: students publicly burned copies of the artwork on display and politicians inveighed against the artists’ morality, all the while salacious newspaper stories supplied months of coverage.

  • Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography

    through April 28

    F. Holland Day, a preeminent figure in American pictorialist photography, was a fascinating character. Drawn from a variety of distinguished museum collections, the photographs in Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography illuminate the multifaceted persona that Day created in his own art and in photographs taken of him by his peers.

  • Five Decades of Collecting

    through April 21

    Five Decades of Collecting commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Sheldon Museum of Art’s building, which was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson and opened in 1963. Each work in the exhibition was created and acquired after 1960.

    The exhibition reflects art movements and trends from this period as well as museum directions in collecting. The exhibition highlights important gifts to the museum and draws attention to areas of strength in its holdings. The installation also celebrates new acquisitions and important works that have not recently been on view.

  • Encounters: Photography from the Sheldon Museum of Art

    through April 28

    In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sheldon Museum of Art’s landmark Philip Johnson building and the 125th anniversary of the University of Nebraska’s art collection, the museum has organized an exhibition showcasing its remarkable photography holdings, which number nearly 2,500 pieces. Encounters: Photography from the Sheldon Museum of Art features approximately 110 historically canonic photographs from the mid-19th century to the present, including new acquisitions, rarely seen treasures, and recognized masterpieces by Berenice Abbott, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Gertrude Käsebier, André Kertész, Robert Mapplethorpe, Yinka Shonibare, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others.

  • Women Call for Peace: Global Vistas

    September 18, 2012 thru January 13, 2013

    Works by thirteen distinguished artists of diverse religious beliefs and ethnic heritage—including some who have personally encountered violence—address factors associated with conflict, such as war, race, gender, and religion.

  • The American Mountain Bicycle

    July 13, 2012 thru September 30, 2012

    While mountain biking is a popular pastime for thrill-seekers today, it was relatively unheard of until the mid-1980s. Before then, a few industrious daredevils in Marin County, California, built custom bikes to zoom around the mountainous terrain where they lived. These visionary individuals combined engineering ingenuity with an artistic eye, using found parts to create durable bicycles that could withstand the bumps and tumbles of downhill racing. This summer, some of these early mountain bikes, on loan from the Monkey Wrench collection, will be on view in the Great Hall.

  • The Geometric Unconscious: A Century of Abstraction

    Oct. 5, 2012 - Jan. 20, 2013

    The Geometric Unconscious: A Century of Abstraction at the Sheldon Museum of Art celebrates the museum’s, broad holdings of works in the mode of geometric abstraction. Spanning more than one hundred years, these objects encouraged, even demanded, a rethinking of the category we call geometric abstraction.

  • A Legacy of Giving: The Anna & Frank Hall Collection

    June 8, 2012 thru September 16, 2012

    Anna and Frank Hall were instrumental in establishing the forerunner of today's Sheldon Art Association, and the couple built a private collection that helped form the foundation of Sheldon's renowned holdings. View highlights from the Halls' personal collection and acquisitions through their charitable trust, including works by artists such as Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Marsden Hartley, Robert Henri, and Dorothea Lange.

  • Turning Inside Out: Video Art by Joan Jonas, Nam June Paik, and Jennifer Steinkamp

    June 1, 2012 thru September 9, 2012

    This year's Sheldon biennial invitational exhibition, Turning Inside Out, explores the world of video through three seminal works. The pioneering videos Vertical Roll and Global Groove offer a subversive view of the power of television in the 1970s. Stimulating soundtracks, repetitive rhythms, and evocative visuals compel viewers to participate. Jennifer Steinkamp's site-specific, computer-generated videos synthesize the real and the virtual, dissolving architectural space into an experience filled with color, light, and motion.