Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy

Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy presents art from the Tang collection, which together explores how we define, practice, and experience compassion and connection. Empathy—the word derived from the German Einfüling, which translates literally to in-feeling—is a nuanced idea, and this exhibition asks visitors to consider their own understandings of it. What does it mean to recognize, share, and feel in the thoughts or experiences of another?

Through photography, painting, textile, and moving image—including many recent acquisitions that have not been shown at the Tang before—the exhibition will reflect on the ways art can support empathic feeling.

Art can be an emotional necessity, a tool for communing with one’s self and others. It can also help us make sense of the complexities of the past and present, offering ways to imagine and adapt toward a different—and perhaps more just—world. Where Words Falter encourages active aesthetic and emotional engagement and asks visitors to consider the ways in which empathy can induce more socially conscious action beyond the museum.
Exhibition Name
Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy
Exhibition Type
Group Exhibitions
Malloy Wing
Jul 9, 2022 - Dec 18, 2022
Where Words Falter: Art and Empathy is curated by Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara and is supported by the Friends of the Tang.
Laura Aguilar, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Nikolay Bakharev, Roger Ballen, James Barnor, Gianfranco Baruchello, Ernest J. Bellocq, Dawoud Bey, Nayland Blake, Jennifer Bornstein, Kwame Brathwaite, Tommy Brown, Marsha Burns, Larry Clark, Lucien Clergue, Imogen Cunningham, Jeremy Dennis, Mike Disfarmer, Jess T. Dugan, Noa Eshkol, Wendy Ewald, Josh Faught, Donna Ferrato, Eve Fowler, Flor Garduño, Nan Goldin, Lewis Hine, Jim Hodges, Roni Horn, George Hurrell, Shantelle Jennings, Chantal Joffe, Michael Joseph, Martin Kersels, Deborah Luster, Danny Lyon, Robert Lyons, Mary Ellen Mark, Elaine Mayes, Roger Mertin, Wayne F. Miller, Andrea Modica, Tracey Moffatt, Laurel Nakadate, Ken Ohara, Alice O'Malley, Bill Owens, Erin M. Riley, Joseph F. Rock, August Sander, Edward Schwartz, Isaac Scott, Jeffrey Silverthorne, Lorna Simpson, John Sonsini, Danielle St. Laurent, Erika Stone, Burk Uzzle, Gillian Wearing, Jack Welpott, Saya Woolfalk
Student Staff
A young, light-skinned man smiles in front of an abstract, neutral-colored painting.
Evan Little '22
Curatorial Assistant
Past: Curatorial Intern, Student Advisory Council, 2020-21 Charina Endowment Fund Endowed Intern, Gallery Monitor Associate
Eve headshot
Eve Kreshtool
2022-23 Charina Endowment Fund Endowed Intern, Student Advisory Council Chair, Curatorial Intern, Tang Guide
Past: Tang Guide
Ali v dsc07735
Ali Vassiliou
Curatorial Intern, Student Advisory Council
Willa Flink
Registrarial Intern, Student Advisory Council
Lucy headshot
Lucy Schwartzreich
Registrarial Intern, Student Advisory Council
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