This Land: Picturing a Changing America in the 1930s and 1940s
The 1930s were a decade of great social and environmental upheaval in the United States. The crash of the stock market in 1929, combined with disastrous drought in the Great Plains and massive flooding along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, caused dramatic change to our natural and cultural landscape. Artists during this time responded to and documented the hardships of the Depression era in a variety of styles and media. This Land: Picturing a Changing America in the 1930s and 1940s is a new exhibition at Crystal Bridges featuring some 45 paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs from this crucial era in American history. Along with never-before-exhibited works from the Crystal Bridges collection, the exhibition also includes works on loan from a variety of other institutions, including the Smithsonian, the New York Public Library, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, as well as from private and corporate collections. The works feature well-known Regionalist painters Thomas Hart Benton, Joe Jones, and Joseph Vorst, among others; as well as famous photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Ben Shahn, who documented the effects of drought, flood, and financial hardship in communities across the U.S. Many of these artists were participants in the various government-sponsored recovery programs that resulted in post office murals across the country, fine-art prints for non-federal public buildings, and photographs that captured the iconic images of the Great Depression. The exhibition tells the story of both rural and urban American life, and represents several very different styles that coexisted at this time: from Regionalism to abstraction, Cubism to Social Realism, along with the emergence of photography as a fine art medium. There is no fee to view this exhibition.