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Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074


Wednesday — Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday, Tuesday, Sunday Closed

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The Allen's collection is particularly strong in 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting, Japanese prints, early modern art, African art, and more.

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Where Is Consent in Art (Museums)?

January 27 - August 22, 2023
In Northwest Ambulatory

Where Is Consent in Art (Museums)?

January 27 - August 22, 2023
In Northwest Ambulatory

Does beholding an image of desire or sexual violence implicate us in that image’s power dynamics? When a figure looks directly at us—as if to acknowledge our presence—how do we look back?

In this experimental installation, we explore the ethics of presenting images of power and sexuality. In doing so, we acknowledge the harm that images can cause when we obscure sexual violence with terms like “amorous” or prioritize symbolic meaning and artistic style. Artworks are not passive—they reflect and impact our lived experiences and contribute to our shared values.

Juxtaposing images of sexual violence with positive examples of consensual desire by artists utilizing Black, feminist, and queer frameworks allows us to think critically about sexual power dynamics that appear throughout art. Considered together, we hope these works help us develop trauma-informed ethics for interpreting imagery in art museums and our broader visual culture.

Organized by

Hannah Wirta Kinney

Curator of Academic Programs,

Sam Adams

Ellen Johnson ’33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art


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