Saturday, May 24, 2014

American Experience

Where: American Art Museum

When: July 13, 2014

Every so often, I notice that an exhibit that's been on display for years is listed as closing.  I guess that just proves that nothing's really permanent.  Museums acquire new items or older pieces need conservation or areas of the building itself need to be repaired or refurbished.  Whatever the reason, a set of works/objects is taken down and new works/objects are put in their place.

Such is the case with this display, called "American Experience" which is located next to the Folk Art on the museum's first floor.  I've walked through here dozens of times over the years but had never stopped to really look at the paintings and photographs on display.  I was always off to see something else.  And that's a shame, really, because there are some lovely pieces here - well worth more than a passing glance.

The exhibit is divided into three parts: the first is of landscape paintings, meant to show America at her most majestic and featuring a wide variety of views (including a Winslow Homer entitled "High Cliff, Coast of Maine"); the second is a series of photographs of American monuments taken in the 1970s, called, appropriately enough, "The American Monument" by Lee Friedlander (there are a couple of shots of the Washington Monument in which the structure itself seems to be a bit of an afterthought); and the third is more American art, but I couldn't really determine the theme.  There's an Arthur Dove (a friend of mine had just been telling me about some of his work on display at the Phillips Collection) which I rather liked and a Georgia O'Keefe that I didn't dislike (imagine!) of New York skyscrapers.  I was delighted to recognize an Andrew Wyeth - I thought that the tattered cloth in the painting was reminiscent of the Olsons' curtains.

Verdict: Give this a look the next time you're in American Art/Portrait Gallery - it's too good to just walk by.

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