An image still of Marina Abramovich in a jumpsuit.
Subversive Intent:
Selections from the Collection
March 26, 2024 – June 29, 2024


Subversive Intent: Selections from the Collection brings together seldom-exhibited works from the museum’s permanent collection including graphic masterpieces by William Hogarth, Francisco Goya, and Honoré Daumier, as well as contemporary works by artists Jenny Holzer, Roger Shimomura, Juventino Aranda, and many others. This exhibition aims to create a dialogue with the politically and socially engaged work of Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, as seen in our concurrent exhibition, Beyond Hope: Kienholz and the Inland Northwest. While the Kienholzes were known as art world provocateurs, both exhibitions move beyond the purely bombastic and confrontational to show another side of subversion, one that is introspective and irreverent as well as surprising.

Throughout history, artists have used humor and critique in their works to draw attention to social issues or simply to entertain. Recognizing their role in reflecting the historical moment, artists often identify, manipulate, or comment upon a period’s wounds, wars, hypocrisies, or other human follies and frailties. At times, their critical eye provides us with the ability to laugh at that which we fear, while elsewhere they help us better see and understand humankind’s shortcomings, raising our awareness in the process. As chroniclers of our times, these expressions of personal temperament or point of view may become asides to an artist’s primary practice while for others it is their life’s work; nevertheless, they are delivered with astute reflection and wry accounting. Our exhibition also makes room for works of a less overt nature, showing the artist as a helpful agitator transforming everyday banalities into unexpected mysteries, subverting expectations of art, artists, and the world we wish to know.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, the Holland Orton Endowment, and friends of the museum.

About the Permanent Collection

The Museum’s Collection was founded on a “collection of collections,” private holdings of late-19th and early-20th-century American painting representing the evolving taste and passion of individual collectors and entered the WSU public collection intact through gifts. Highlights include works of art by William Glackens, Worth Griffin, Z. Vanessa Helder, George Inness, and John Sloan.

The Collection is strong in contemporary art, especially British, European, and American prints, drawings, and photography since the 1970s. Highlights include works by many renowned artists, including Jim Dine, Helen Frankenthaler, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Small but significant holdings of contemporary Native American art include works by Rick Bartow, Joe Feddersen, Ric Gendron, James Lavadour, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. Contemporary glass and ceramic art are also represented. Art commissioned expressly for the Museum by Northwest artists Trimpin, Jeffry Mitchell, and Marie Watt round out the Museum’s contemporary holdings, and indicate a nascent but important collecting direction.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus.

Exhibition Artworks

To view selected artworks from the exhibition, click on the arrows after each image, or click the individual work to scroll through full size images of the works.