ERIC Number: EJ849306
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Johnson, Mark M.
Arts & Activities, v145 n5 p30-32 Jun 2009
A new traveling exhibition and catalogue produced by the Smithsonian's American Art Museum features works by 31 artists from the United States who came to maturity in the mid-20th century. These artists have become the most significant and influential artists over the past 50 years as their works adorn the modern galleries of hundreds of museums. Included in the exhibition are notable and highly recognized artists such as Josef Albers, Romare Bearden, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson and many others. These artists make up a list of the Who's Who of modern American art. The exhibition introduces the richness and complexity of American art in the years following World War II. "Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" features 43 key paintings and sculptures organized into three broadly conceived themes that span two decades of creative genius. All categories reflect the excitement for American art at mid-century following World War II. For the first time, the United States, and New York specifically, became the metacenter of what was happening in the world of contemporary art. The first category of this exhibition, "Significant Gestures," explores the autographic mark, executed in sweeping strokes of brilliantly colored paint that became the expressive vehicle for Francis, Hofmann and Kline, as well as Philip Guston and Joan Mitchell. These artists and others, affected by World War II, became known as abstract expressionists. Known more popularly as "action painting," the resulting artwork also is a document of the very process of its creation. "Optics and Order," the next section, examines artists who investigated ideas such as the exploration of mathematical proportion and carefully balanced color. The final section, "New Images of Man," features works by Romare Bearden, Jim Dine, David Driskell, Grace Hartigan, Nathan Oliveira, Larry Rivers and several others, each of whom searched their surroundings and personal lives for vignettes emblematic of larger, universal concerns. Issues such as tragedy, interpersonal communication and racial relations guided the creation of these artists' pieces.
Descriptors: Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Painting (Visual Arts), Sculpture, Art Expression, Art History, Color, Optics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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