The Art of “Play!” at the Norton

The Norton Museum of Art is continuing its fun-filled summer with a new exhibition aptly named “Play!” running from July 31 to October 26. In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition “Wheels and Heels: The Big Noise Around Little Toys,” “Play!” employs a variety of mediums with well-known and not-so-well-known types of play, explored through pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition was organized by the Norton’s 2014 summer interns, who scoured through the collection in search of apt representations of sport, dance, music, games, free play and theater. Works like Chinese photographer Don Hong-Oai’s Gibbons at Play and American photographer Mary Ellen Mark’s Rodeo-Big Spring encapsulate the energy and essence of play, giving rise to emotion and even memory. Additionally featured artists include Marc Chagall, Edouard Manet, Philippe Halsman, Harold Edgerton and Fernand Leger, many of whose works will be on view for the first time in several years.

Don Hong-Oai - Gibbons at Play - Norton Museum of Art - Play!

Don Hong-Oai, Chinese, 1929-2004

Gibbons at Play, Guilin, 1982

Sepia-toned gelatin silver print, 19 7/8 x 15 1/2 in. (50.5 x 39.4 cm)

Gift of Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim, 98.733 © The Estate of Don Hong-Oai

In collaboration with the Norton’s education and curatorial departments, the exhibition is a rare opportunity for interns to flex their intellectual and artistic muscle. The four interns behind this exhibition—Molly Downing, Dana Hogan, Tanya Mai Olson and Samantha Tavlin—were not only responsible for putting the collection together but also will introduce the exhibition at the Norton’s July 31 installment of Art After Dark, a free event for Florida residents.

  • “Play!” will be on display July 31 to October 26.
  • Admission to the Norton Museum of Art is free for Florida residents through September 4, with proof of residency.
  • For more information, visit
Mary Ellen Mark - Rodeo - Play! - Norton Museum of Art

Mary Ellen Mark, American, born 1940
Rodeo-Big Spring, Texas, 1991 from the portfolio In America
Gelatin silver print, 10 7/16 x 10 7/16 in. (26.5 x 26.5 cm)
Gift of Raymond W. Merritt, The Carol & Raymond Merritt Collection, 2003.126 © Mary Ellen Mark


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