Thursday, October 15, 2009

Installing Now: American Artists from the Russian Empire

Next up at the Museum of Art: American Artists from the Russian Empire. We're installing the show this week, and it opens on October 24th. America is a melting pot, of course, and so is American Art... or, to use another cliche: this exhibition explores the Russian slice of the American pie. The exhibition explores the work of Russian immigrants and ranges from the social realism of artists like David Burliuk or Ben Shahn to the European-styled modernism of Max Weber, Archipenko, Lipchitz, and Gorky; from the surrealism of Pavel Tchelitchew on to the hard-edged modernism of Bolotowsky and Louise Nevelson. The culminating note of the exhibition is the group of five paintings by Mark Rothko, beginning with a figurative work of the 1930s (signed with his original name, "Rothkowitz") and continuing on to two of his classic color-field paintings of the 50s. That alone would merit the price of admission (although of course if you've signed up and joined The Gallery you have unlimited admission), but beyond Rothko, there are fascinating glimpses of the closely-knit Russian artist community in New York (note the portraits by and of Burliuk, Soyer, Nina Schick, and Nicholas Roerich), or of the broader development of minimalism and of color-field painting (two large color-field canvases by Jules Olitsky hang near those by Rothko).
American Artists from Russia will also be the featured exhibition at our next Culture and Cocktails on October 29th. For details about a special tour of the exhibition in the hour before Culture and Cocktails begins, see our webpage.

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