"Not So Cute & Cuddly: Dolls & Stuffed Toys in Contemporary Art"
October 26 through December 24, 2003

'Ernie,' by Frank Liu, 2001, oil on canvas, 48 by 60 inches"Not So Cute & Cuddly" focuses on a trend by contemporary artists to appropriate and transform objects from childhood to explore not only the darker side of youth but also address a host of serious, adult issues. Simultaneously challenging and fun, the exhibition brings together approximately 40 works by 20 international artists who use dolls, figurines, and stuffed toys to create diverse and complex meditations on memory and loss, the development of gender and cultural identities, as well as other topical social concerns. While much of the subtext of the works in the exhibition is directed at adults, "Not So Cute & Cuddly" is also very accessible and engaging for the younger audience.

Installation view by Royal Art Lodge, fabric, dimensions variableAll of the works included in "Not So Cute & Cuddly" date from 1998 to the present and represent the vast range of artistic expression being used today, from the more traditional techniques of painting and sculpture to more experimental approaches in photography, video, and installation art. A timely survey of the pervasiveness of "youthful" imagery in contemporary culture, the exhibition mixes media as well as both more established and emerging artists. "Not So Cute & Cuddly" was organized by Elizabeth Dunbar, chief curator at the Ulrich Museum. A catalogue of the same name is available for purchase at the museum's main desk for $30 (tax included).

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of: Ann and Bob Martin; Dan Rouser; J. Eric Engstrom; Tanya Tandoc; Greteman Group; Austrian Cultural Forum; Toni and Bud Gates; The Arts Council (Wichita/Sedgwick County); John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; and the Ulrich Museum Alliance for Contemporary Art.

In conjunction with the "Not So Cute & Cuddly," the Ulrich Museum of Art has partnered with the Wichita Center for the Arts and WSU's Student Activities Council Cinema and Video Committee to bring a series of films about weird, wild and wacky dolls. To see a list of films, click here.

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