The Greatest Show on Earth: Circus Imagery from the Collection

  • May 3, 2014 – Jul 20, 2014
  • Gallery 6
Karl Zerbe, "Clown with Blue Glove", 1949, oil on Masonite, 31 x 25 in.
Museum purchase with funds from the Weatherspoon Guild Acquisition
Endowment, 2013.

This exhibition of works from the collection shows the changing attitudes toward the circus from the early 20th century, when its three rings of entertainment were an essential part of American culture, to today, when its performers and features have a diminished, even nostalgic, status. Many of the images date to the period of World War II and thus serve as ironic reminders of life’s inescapable hardships.

This exhibition is organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

Related program

Noon @ the 'Spoon • Tue Jun 10 @ 12pm

We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.