Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
Well known for his ceramic sculptures and his numerous self-portraits, Robert Arneson tests the boundaries of self-representation-and even those of art itself-with this self-portrait that depicts him symbolically, not pictorially. Despite its appearance, the object is not an ordinary building material, but was cast by Arneson himself. Brick's physical association with the artist is thus a key component of its function as a self-portrait. Evidence of his hand is visible in both his name stamped on top and in the signature inscribed on the side.