Side Image: 

David Bigelow (American, b. 1949), The Spy, 1981, etching, 26 x 32 inches. Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

What's Going On Here? Stories in Art

Stories are a compelling way to communicate. Through their many forms—from biographies and memoirs, to myths and legends, to parables, folktales, and epic sagas—stories help us to know who we are and to make sense of the world. They express cultural values and beliefs and help us to remember the past, record the present, and imagine the future.

What's Going on Here? Stories in Art presents four works of art that possess strong narrative qualities. With humor and imagination, they tell tales about community and belonging, about friendship and adventure, and about responsibility and understanding.

William McCloy pictures a well-known tall tale with its famous characters, Paul Bunyon and Babe, the blue ox. Works by David Bigelow, Duane Brissette, and Nicolas Garcia Uriburu explore the complexities of relationships, whether among individuals and groups or between human beings and the natural world. By examining the details in these works of art, including setting and characters, and the manner in which the subjects are depicted, we can construct plausible storylines for the actions taking place.