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Vanity Fair

As Woody Allen, our favorite purveyor of existential dread, so drolly put it, “The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.” So inextricably linked and thought-consuming the two are, it’s no wonder that...
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As Woody Allen, our favorite purveyor of existential dread, so drolly put it, “The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.” So inextricably linked and thought-consuming the two are, it’s no wonder that so much creative output counts each as an inspiration. They also serve as the basis for “Vanitas: Contemporary Reflections on Love & Death From the Collection of Stephane Janssen” at Phoenix Art Museum.

In art, vanitas is a style that involves the use of such imagery as skulls and rotting fruit that symbolize the pointlessness of life, the fleeting nature of beauty and wealth, and the imminence of death. Janssen, a noted art collector, has amassed contemporary works that use the same visual tropes and worked with the museum to craft an exhibition centered on symbolic portrayals of sex and death. The show features works by artists including Lucien Morat, Thomas Lerooy, and Eddie Martinez, all of which reflect on life’s futility.

“Vanitas” is on view in the Marshall and Hendler Galleries at 1625 North Central Avenue through February 8, 2015. Admission is $15 for adults. For more information, visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1880.


Sundays, 12-5 p.m.; Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Nov. 2. Continues through Feb. 8, 2014
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