Long Island's art scene
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“This is a rare opportunity to range over centuries of American art and select from the best examples.”
The exhibition takes in most of the American art movements, arranged by groupings in order to favor juxtaposition. Norman Rockwell’s beloved paintings portray a wholesome, idealized America while Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton celebrate the rural and local, hard work and honest labor. Paintings from the Hudson River School by renowned artists Thomas Cole, Frederick Edwin Church and John Frederick Kensett focus on the sublime grandeur of American landscapes while American Impressionist painters Frederick Carl Frieseke and Theodore Robinson capture beautiful moments through sketchy brushstrokes, brilliant color, and ephemeral atmospheres. Influenced by European art movements of the early twentieth century, American Modernists including the Precisionist Charles Sheeler and Abstract Expressionist Adolph Gottlieb emphasize the industrial, the international, or the psychological through gesture, texture, surface, geometry, shape, form and color. The work of contemporary artists Cindy Sherman, Rashaad Newsome and Radcliffe Bailey coalesce around the politics of feminism and sexual identity, the issues of multiculturalism and social reform, as well as concern for the environment and natural resources.
“We selected the works to be hung chronologically, but as we got closer to the exhibit, we decided to mix up the installation and organized them by the ‘question words’ – Who, What, When, Where, Why,” Willers said. “We wanted to inspire people to make comparisons between eras and subjects. When you have an opportunity to draw on a collection of this breadth and depth it makes for a wonderful presentation.”