Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DAM Presents American Moderns, 1910 - 1960: From O'Keefe to Rockwell

Green, Yellow and Orange, 1960, Georgia O'Keefe
Organized by the Brooklyn Museum and co-curated by Karen Sherry, Margaret Stentz, and the Delaware Art Museum's Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle, American Moderns, 1910 - 1960: From O'Keefe to Rockwell asks the question "what is American modern art?" -- then proceeds to push the definition beyond the expected. Covering the first half of the 20th Century, the exhibition focuses on the early defining moments of modern art in the United States, with work that precedes the Digital Age.

The mix of artists, from big names such a Georgia O'Keefe, Grandama Moses, and Brandywine Valley superstar N.C. Wyeth to important but less recognized artists such as Marguerite Thompson Zorach and Ernest Crichlow, encompass a broader spectrum of American Modern artists, showcased in several categories. Visitors move from Cubist Experiments, with its Pablo Picasso influence; Still Life Revisited, where new techniques were applied to an old style; Nature Essentialized, celebrating nature often with the help of modern technology such as air travel and photography; Modern Structures, capturing and reflecting images of modern urban and rural life; Engaging Characters, with a focus on "the human spectacle"; and Americana, which asks "What makes America America?" through styles such as folk art and illustration.

Manhattan Mosaic, 1947,
George Copeland Ault
Where American Moderns pushes through the barriers of modern art is with its inclusion of popular illustration artists such as Norman Rockwell and Wyeth; such respect for illustration artists is nothing new for the Delaware Art Museum, but it's a respect, especially in the Modern Art world, that is still just starting to catch on.

The inclusion of folk art, such as Morris Hirscfield's "Girl with a Dog," by contrast, brings a style of art not found in DAM's permanent collection.

The exhibition, which runs through the holidays and closes on January 5, 2014, is a must-see for American Art lovers, Modern Art lovers, and anyone interested in learning more about either.

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