Road Trip Retrospective
FEBRUARY 12 – MAY 7
When you think of the rise of modern art, you think cities, but “new artistic ideas and styles didn’t stop at the city limits,” says Stephanie Heydt, the High Museum’s Margaret and Terry Stent curator of American art. “Artists working around the country in rural areas and small towns also influenced the evolution of artistic ideas between the World Wars.”
On February 12, the High unveils “Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915- 1950,” which runs through May 7. It’s a big trip, with more than 200 works from the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the High’s collection. Well-known and lesser-known artists are organized geographically by region. “We see in the diversity of styles and subjects that artists found inspiration at every turn, and we’ve seen some amazing connections,” says Heydt. Maynard Dixon and Ansel Adams both responded to the vastness of the American West. Charles Alston and Jacob Lawrence captured images of African Americans in the Depression South. Georgia O’Keeffe, who had been exploring skyscrapers in New York City, found a new direction when she visited Lake George and was attracted to the red canna lilies growing there. “That’s when she began painting close-up views of natural forms and abstracting them,” says Heydt.
“Once we started looking at our collections for pieces that depicted artists responding emotionally, intellectually or politically to place, it was hard to stop, but we have put in plenty of benches, so you can rest along the way,” Heydt says. Cuts from films of the period enrich the journey.
STORIES: Laura Raines