"American Moderns" closing today at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
See the special exhibition “American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell” before it closes today at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive.
The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
“American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell” features 57 artworks from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum in an exploration of the myriad ways in which American artists engaged with modernity. Ranging widely in subject matter and style, the fifty-three paintings and four sculptures were produced by leading artists of the day, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Milton Avery, Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Rockwell Kent, Joseph Stella, Elie Nadelman, and Norman Rockwell. Significant works by these and other artists in the exhibition exemplify their unique contributions to modern culture.
Between 1910 and 1960, both American society and art underwent tumultuous and far-reaching transformations. The United States emerged as an international power of economic, industrial, and military might, while also experiencing two world wars and the Great Depression. New technologies fundamentally changed the pace and nature of all aspects of modern life. America’s increasingly diverse and mobile population challenged old social patterns and clamored for the equality and opportunities promised by the American dream. Art witnessed similarly dramatic changes as many artists rejected or reformulated artistic traditions, seeking new ways to make their work relevant in a contemporary context.
“American Moderns” explores themes such as the city, the body, landscape, still life, and Americana through the range of works in the exhibition. The American city was a common motif in art of this period as artists found new iconographic and aesthetic possibilities in the architectural forms and gridded geometries of the modern metropolis. Other works will address the human experience of the city—the vast diversity of urban populations; the hustle and bustle of urban living; and the sociological effects of alienation, lack of privacy, and increasing female independence. Artists captured the nation’s self-confidence in heroic depictions of the muscled, active bodies of laborers who fueled the economy and of athletes who embodied the new cult of physicality.
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