Contemporary American Painting [1945] and FOCUS IN/ON: Reginald Marsh's Manhattan Towers, at the Hillstrom Museum of Art

September 18 to November 5[6w 6d 23h]
Hillstrom Museum of Art

Contemporary American Painting [1945] and FOCUS IN/ON: Reginald Marsh's Manhattan Towers, at the Hillstrom Museum of Art Hillstrom Museum of Art

The Hillstrom Museum of Art presents concurrent exhibitions: Contemporary American Painting [1945]: Selections from the Hillstrom Museum of Art, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Perlman Teaching Museum, Carleton College, and FOCUS IN/ON: Reginald Marsh's Manhattan Towers, both on view September 18 through November 5, 2017.

An opening reception will be held Monday, September 18, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., featuring a gallery talk by Laurel Bradley, former director of the Perlman Teaching Museum and Donald Myers, director of the Hillstrom Museum of Art (starting at 7:30 p.m.); and there will be a Nobel Conference reception Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Contemporary American Painting [1945] is a collaborative exhibition from the Hillstrom Museum of Art, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Perlman Teaching Museum at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In 1945, the Encyclopedia Britannica staged a sweeping examination of contemporary American painting from its art collection. An exemplary work by each of over 100 well-respected artists toured the United States, providing cultural access and aesthetic experiences to large numbers of everyday Americans.

This current exhibit seeks to recapture the essence of the original Contemporary American Painting exhibition with paintings, drawings, and prints chosen from the collections of the Hillstrom Museum of Art and the Perlman Teaching Museum. Works donated by Gustavus alumnus Richard L. Hillstrom, a savvy collector and patron of the arts, anchor Gustavus' selections. Carleton's contributions draw on donations by William Benton, an alumnus who served as the chairman of the board and publisher of Britannica. All of the artists featured in this exhibition were either represented in the Encyclopedia Britannica collection or had close relationships with those painters.

Contemporary American Painting [1945] features works of the revolutionary Ashcan School by artists including John Sloan (1871-1951), William Glackens (1870-1938), and George Bellows (1882-1925). Regionalism, renowned for its depictions of Americana, especially in the rural Midwest, is represented by the works of Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), John Steuart Curry (1897-1946), and Grant Wood (1891-1942). Also represented are Urban Realists such as Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) and Paul Cadmus (1904-1999), and American Scene artists including Charles Burchfield (1893-1967). Six paintings from the original Encyclopedia Britannica collection, including Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1939) by Fletcher Martin (1904-1979) and Orderly Retreat (1943) by Phillip Evergood (1901-1973), unite the past and current exhibitions.

Student Contributions to Contemporary American Painting [1945]: The college art collection is a resource for aesthetic exploration, teaching, and learning, offering opportunities for students to engage with art and its history through real objects. We invited students into the curatorial process for Contemporary American Painting [1945] through courses in the spring of 2017. Carleton's curatorial seminar focused on this exhibition, and students were tasked with writing about objects and themes, with texts orchestrated about the emergence of a self-consciously defined American art in the first half of the 20th century. The Gustavus Adolphus museum studies course took a broader approach, exposing students to art museum history, philosophy, concepts, and skills, the last of which involved assigning research on works to be included in this exhibition and drafting of object texts. Students who participated in this project include: from Carleton, Cindy Chen, Conor Eckert, Fiona Fraser, Gina Hatch, Patrick Wigent, Amanda Zeilinger, and Adin Zuck; and from Gustavus Adolphus, Jack Engel, Emma Gasterland-Gustafsson, Ben Gilman, Hannah Kerber, Frank Kuzma, Sylvia Michels, Sophia Noreen, Gino Sahagun, and Nicholas Zermeño.

Contemporary American Painting [1945] is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, free of charge to visitors. The exhibition will also be shown at the Perlman Teaching Museum January 5 through March 12, 2018.

FOCUS IN/ON: Reginald Marsh's Manhattan Towers is another of the Museum's FOCUS IN/ON projects, in which a single work from the Hillstrom Collection is analyzed in depth in collaboration with a colleague from across the Gustavus Adolphus College curriculum. Manhattan Towers (1932), a watercolor by American artist Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), is considered in an essay co-written by Elizabeth Jenner, associate professor and chair in sociology and anthropology and associate professor in gender, women, and sexuality studies, and Hillstrom Museum of Art director Donald Myers. The project explores artist Marsh, his career, his interest in skyscrapers, and his group of images of the skyline of New York City. It also considers skyscrapers and skylines from a sociological point of view, including their iconic and emblematic nature as a part of a person's identity and identification with place of residence.

FOCUS IN/ON: Reginald Marsh's Manhattan Towers is accompanied by an illustrated brochure available free of charge to visitors.

As with all the programs of the Hillstrom Museum of Art, these exhibitions, their receptions, and the gallery talk by Laurel Bradley and Donald Myers are open to the public and are free of charge.

Further information can be found at gustavus.edu/hillstrom.

AudiencePublic
ContactDon Myers '83 — 507-933-7171
CategoryGeneral
SponsorHillstrom Museum of Art