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Robert Arneson

Feeling Pushed
1977
chalk, pencil, and crayon
41 7/16 x 29 13/16 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Olden

Feeling Pushed captures Robert Arneson at an especially stressful moment in his life. Two years earlier, he had been diagnosed with cancer, possibly caused by the chemicals contained in his art materials. Despite this serious threat to his health, Arneson injects humor into his self-portrait, even vulgarity. His face seems to be pushed up against a piece of transparent glass that flattens his nose into a piggish snout, while his wild hair and wrinkled features express a state of mind filled with tension and anxiety.