Topics: Arts and Culture, College of Fine Arts, Muncie

February 23, 2022

Narrative Larry Day
Narrative: To the Memory of Matteo Giovanetti, 1967, Larry Day, American (1921–1998), oil on canvas, 65 1/2 x 76 3/8 in., Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Ruth Fine in honor of Irving and Miriam Brown Fine, 2020. © Woodmere Art Museum

David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA) at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, will display the most important exhibition to date of the art of Larry Day (1921–1998) from Feb. 24 through May 21, 2022. DOMA is open to the public with no admission fee from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Organized by the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, Body Language: The Art of Larry Day explores the artist’s significant contributions to American art from the 1950s through the 1990s in a selection of 50 paintings and drawings. The exhibition is curated by Day’s longtime friend David Bindman, emeritus professor of the History of Art at University College London and visiting fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

The exhibition highlights the most prominent thematic categories in Day’s career: abstraction, figuration, and the cityscape. Together, they work in concert to reinforce the artist’s significance and lasting relevance while revealing Day’s shift from abstraction to representation.

In his hometown, Day was known as “the Dean of Philadelphia Painters,” indicative of his powerful inspiration and impact as an instructor at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and across the city’s many other art schools.

“Day challenged the dominant Abstract Expressionist style of the New York art world and charged into the forefront of artists transitioning to figuration and representational painting,” said Robert G. La France, director of the David Owsley Museum of Art. “I believe that the exhibition will be a revelation for many and appeal equally to students, studio artists, art historians, and the general public. We are grateful to the Woodmere Art Museum for introducing this modern Philadelphia artist’s work to Muncie and East Central Indiana.”

A full-color catalog for Body Language: The Art of Larry Day is available for purchase from the University of Pennsylvania Press. It includes essays by David Bindman; Sid Sachs, chief curator and director of exhibitions at UArts; Jonathan Bober, curator and head of the Department of Old Master Prints at the National Gallery of Art; and artist Eileen Neff, who studied with and subsequently taught alongside Day. Also included is a “Memory Portrait” written by Day’s widow, Ruth Fine, a retired National Gallery of Art curator.

To watch the Body Language: The Art of Larry Day exhibition video, click here.