June 16, 2020 – January 3, 2021
George Segal: Body Language is the first opportunity to see the artist’s sculptures side-by-side with a recent gift of prints from the Segal Foundation complemented by additional loans of a painting, pastel drawing and sculptures.
Approximately sixty years ago, the young artist George Segal embraced a new working process that catapulted him to becoming one of the most recognized twentieth-century sculptors. During the summer of 1961, Segal was introduced to medical gauze bandages which he wrapped around his body and then used as primary material to cast plaster sculptures. The following year, in 1962, he was included in the legendary exhibition The New Realists along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Jim Dine. In response to this group exhibition, the American media began to refer to the artists as a new movement: Pop Art.
This exhibition revisits George Segal’s career beyond the labels and focus on his remarkable versatility in representing body language across different media, including not only his trademark plaster sculptures but also various print techniques. His engagement with the human body reveals a sustained and cohesive exploration of human body language, always playing with the border of interior and exterior signification. Across the spectrum of sculptures and prints, body parts often overlap with and mirror one another, forming a sequence that resembles the choreography of dance.
George Segal: Body Language is the first George Segal exhibition at Meijer Gardens since 2004 and the first time that a large number of prints gifted by the Segal Foundation are on display. While this is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the artist’s singular vision in representing body language, it can also serve as an inspiration to revisit the many innovative figurative sculptures that are part of the Sculpture Park, including Segal’s own Girl Standing in Nature, as well as works by Jim Dine, Kiki Smith, Antony Gormley, Jaume Plensa, and others.
Use this map to find the Harvey Lemmen Gallery in our Sculpture Park and view Girl Standing in Nature. This sculpture is part of our permanent collection.
Explore the Sculpture Park with Curator of Arts Education, Amber Oudsema, during an hour-long walk, discussing sculptures that focus on the human figure.
Join working artist and college professor, Mariel Versluis, as she discusses the processes of printmaking.
Create your own collage with human figures cut out of magazines.
George Segal: Body Language is made possible by:
The Meijer Foundation
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation
Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts