Motivated to depict rural America and its agrarian roots, the Regionalists of the 1930s forged a new, uniquely American style. Sometimes bordering on satire or romanticism of the rural lives of Americans, these artists nevertheless believed that art had a social purpose, and the economic and social changes occurring between the two World Wars made Regionalism an easily understood, popular alternative to the abstract styles of Modernism. Artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood led the movement, which appealed to many artists across the South and Midwest—whose work also contained narrative aspects of daily life.
The Mississippi Museum of Art is fortunate to have a sizeable collection of lithographs from these artists and is rarely afforded the opportunity to put them on view. Here, they are displayed alongside selections of contemporary photography that echo the Regionalist desire to call attention to the imagery of rural America. By considering Regionalist prints alongside these contemporary photographs, the viewer can gain a perspective of each artist’s motivations, revealing a common interest in what the American scene means in one’s own time.
Exhibition overview from museum website