Boston University Art Galleries

Boston University

Boston, MA



David Smith: Medals for Dishonor


Medals for Dishonor, a series of fifteen cast bronze medals by renowned sculptor David Smith, will be shown at the Boston University Art Gallery beginning Friday, January 15, 1999 and continue through Sunday, February 28. The medals depict the devastation of war, ignorance, prejudice, poverty, illness, and environmental destruction. Created during the rise of fascism in Europe in the years leading up to World War II, these medallions are perhaps the least-known major body of Smith's work.

When first shown in 1940, William Blake (author of "The Painter and the Lady") compared the medals to the "complex and richly allusive imagery of Bosch, Breughel, and Goya." More than forty years later The Partisan Review called them as "At once reminiscent of Mesopotamian and Cretan seal stones and of Picasso, at once period pieces and oddly current."

This powerful exhibition includes the complete set of 15 medals, preparatory sketches, drawings, paintings, and archival documents.

Above left to right: Reaction in Medicine, 1940, bronze, 10 1/2 x 9 inches; Sinking Hospital and Civilian Refugee Ships, 1939, bronze, 9 x 12 1/4 inches; Study for Propoganda for War, 1939, bronze; Elements Which Cause Prostitution, 1939, bronze, 8 5/8 x 10 1/2 inches.


rev. 9/20/10

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