Rural Modern: American Art Beyond the City

Exhibition Website

Oct 29 2016 - Jan 22 2017

Rural Modern explores the adaptation of modernist styles to subject matter associated with the American countryside.

Treatments of coastal New England, small-town Pennsylvania, Midwestern farms, and other rural regions of the country illustrate the dispersal of canonical modernist styles such as Cubism and Fauvism as well as the translation of these idioms into an American vernacular modernism. Comprised of more than 60 works mainly completed between the World Wars, Rural Modern investigates the incursion and gradual acceptance of modernist tropes in the American provinces. Some of the artists included, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, were firmly entrenched in modernism before leaving the cities behind. Other artists, N.C. Wyeth for example, started out in more pastoral settings and traditional styles but came to adopt ever more experimental approaches.

Rural Modern is organized by Amanda C. Burdan, Associate Curator, and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue including insightful essays by Burdan and other noted scholars of American modernism. 

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog,  , provides an essential look at American modernism as seen through the landscape painting of Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Demuth, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, Andrew Wyeth, and many others. Paintings of New England coastlines, small-town Pennsylvania, Southwestern canyons, Midwestern farms, and other evocative landscapes fill the pages. More than sixty modernist works, created between the wars, present an important and often overlooked history: how American painters adapted avant-garde styles like Cubism and Fauvism to reimagine familiar landscapes and develop a distinctively American modernist vernacular. Richly illustrated with insightful essays by noted scholars.

  • Painting
  • American
  • 20th Century
  • Landscape
  • Modernism
  • Thomas Hart Benton
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Charles Demuth
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates