Director, Glenn Lowry: Welcome to American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe. This exhibition presents both familiar and lesser known works of American art, all dating from the first half of the twentieth century and mostly drawn from MoMA’s collection.
This was a period of tremendous social and technological change in America.
Assistant curator, Esther Adler: And there was an anxiety about that. It was both celebrated and also feared a bit, and I think that is definitely what we’re seeing in a lot of the works included.
Glenn Lowry: Landscapes reveal the clash between rapid urbanization and nostalgia for America’s rural past.
Assistant curator, Kathy Curry: Most of the works in the exhibition tend to be lonely sort of landscapes, lonely cities, devoid of people. We’ve found that a lot of artists that MoMA’s collected, a lot of the works we were drawn to in the collection, sort of have this mood about them.
Glenn Lowry: But other works celebrate the stuff of modern life, from cigarette packages to telephones. Artists also engaged with radical new approaches to art during this period. Even those who worked in representational styles explored their subjects from a fresh and challenging perspective.
Many of these artists were exhibited at MoMA in the early decades of the 20th century. Today, you’ll get a sense of the incredible depth and breadth of the Museum’s commitment to American modernism.