Community embraces new exhibit

Published: Friday, January 24, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 23, 2003 at 11:20 p.m.

I sat in Kimberly Rhoden's office recently flipping through a book on the Harn Museum's new exhibit. Rhoden, the Harn's director of marketing, said the museum initially worried if this exhibit would be a tough sell for this community. And there, on page 56, was one cause for the concern.

Sue Coe's painting "Romance in the Age of Raygun" depicts a famous gang rape. Remember 1988's "The Accused" starring Jodie Foster? This is the same incident. And if you were uncomfortable in your movie seat, get ready to flinch at Coe's vivid work.

Such is the point of The Culture of Violence, which opens at the Harn on Tuesday. This sobering exhibit is meant to make us squirm. It reminds us that violence is indeed ugly, and it suggests we have grown too complacent in its presence.

And guess what? Nobody in this community went running and screaming. In fact, community agencies - including those that help victims - have embraced this exhibit. They are supporting The Culture of Violence with literature, forums and tremendous enthusiasm.

This exhibit is a plank for discussion and change. This community gets that.

Not all works are graphic. Most are not. Some are strangely beautiful. But all will make you think.

Dave Schlenker can be reached at 374-5045 or

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