Head and Shoulders

  • Richard Cleaver, Head and Shoulders, 2007, hand-built ceramics, freshwater pearls, garnets, crystals, cornelian sapphires, bronze wire, metal, goldleaf, and oil paint, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Robert and Sharon Buchanan, 2021.41.3

Richard Cleaver grew up within a devout Catholic family. Spending hours in church, he was fascinated with the rituals and the objects held in ornate drawers and tabernacles. He recreates these mystical spaces in this ceramic self-portrait, embellished with crystals, gems, and a golden flame representing the presence of the Holy Spirit. Beneath the cheerful veneer, doors open to reveal Cleaver’s true self as a gay man. The work speaks to his longing to reveal himself, to be able to metamorphize like the butterfly on his shoulder.

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022



Title
Head and Shoulders
Artist
Date
2007
Location
Dimensions
overall: 11 14 × 7 12 × 4 58 in. (28.6 × 19.1 × 11.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Robert and Sharon Buchanan

Mediums
Mediums Description
hand-built ceramics, freshwater pearls, garnets, crystals, cornelian sapphires, bronze wire, metal, goldleaf, and oil paint
Keywords
  • Figure – bust
Object Number
2021.41.3
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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