Peter Hujar David Brintzenhofe #6, 1982 Vintage Gelantine Silver Print 50,8 x 40,6 cm © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC; Courtesy Pace Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Whether loving or distant, near or far, alive or dead, mothers are the source and existential beginning of human life. There is hardly another term or concept that evokes more manifold associations of, reactions to, and clichés about roles. In the international exhibition “MOTHER!” Kunsthalle Mannheim in cooperation with the Louisiana Museum of Modern Arts shows how art has conveyed changing perceptions of motherhood from Old Masters and early avant-garde artists to the present day. Showing works ranging from Louise Bourgeois, Rineke Dijkstra, and Paula Modersohn-Becker to Yoko Ono, Pablo Picasso, and Egon Schiele, the show concentrates on the period when the feminist revolution challenged the traditional role assigned to women. From the invention of the contraceptive pill and legalized abortion in the twentieth century to current ideas of roles including biotechnological possibilities and queer family structures, the image of the mother is investigated with regard to cultural expectations and norms. The exhibition brings together contemporary art, art historical works, films, literature, as well as artifacts from the worlds of science and popular culture, in order to convey the multifaceted topic of motherhood.