Irving Norman at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington DC

Golden Calf 2

The Irving Norman retrospective “Dark Metropolis: Irving Norman’s Social Surrealism” will be on display at the Katzen Arts Center at American University in Washington, DC, as part of the ” ART of CONFRONTation: AU Exploring Human Rights through Art” series of exhibitions, which also includes “Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib” and “Claiming Space: Some American Feminist Originators”. The exhibition opens with a reception on Tuesday, November 6th from 6-9pm and runs through January 27th. There were be a gallery talk with Katzen director and curator Jack Rasmussen on Saturday, December 1st.

Dark Metropolis: Irving Norman’s Social Realism presents visions of urban hell by a West Coast artist (1906-1989) who used his art to enact social reforms. Born Isaac Noachowitz in Vilnius, Lithuania, Norman drew on his experience fighting fascism in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War to create highly detailed, monumental works that critique the inhumanity of war, the inequity of capitalism and the tyranny of the elite. Produced on the occasion of what would have been Irving Norman’s 100th birthday, the exhibit features paintings that remain as poignant and relevant today as when they were first created. Meticulously patterned and vividly medieval, Norman’s colossal paintings depict Big Brother worlds of swarming, clone-like figures encountering claustrophobic streets, jam-packed rush hours, random violence and abject poverty—urban panoramas that call to mind Los Angeles or Tokyo gone haywire. The show is curated by Scott Shieldsis and on tour from the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California.

See Previously:

Irving Norman at the Pasadena Museum of California Art
Dark Metropolis: Irving Norman’s Social Surrealism
Irving Norman Retrospective at the Crocker Art Museum

painting by Irving Norman “Golden Calf 2” (1985)
Scott Beale
Scott Beale

Scott Beale is the founder of Laughing Squid and is based in New York City. When not running the blog, Scott can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.