Steve Turner Gallery
American Art Past and Present
American Art Past and Present features works by 29 artists including John Atherton, Herbert Bayer, Grafton Tyler Brown, Clarence Holbrook Carter, Elizabeth Catlett, Julio De Diego, Maynard Dixon, Herbert Gentry, Stephen Greene, Mark Steven Greenfield, Vanessa Helder, Donal Hord, Everett Gee Jackson, William H. Johnson, Sargent Johnson, Gina Knee, Peter Krasnow, Helen Lundeberg, Norwood MacGilvary, Knud Merrild, Agnes Pelton, William Edouard Scott, Henrietta Shore, Eric Sloane, Hughie Lee Smith, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Charles White and Richard Wyatt.
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The exhibited works highlight the great changes in American art brought about by federal art programs such as the WPA in the early 1930s. With the establishment of community art centers throughout the country and the employment nationwide of local artists to create murals in public buildings, the art scene became decentralized. At the same time, with increased opportunities for artists, the art community became more diverse, with women and African American artists actively participating for the first time.
With decentralization and greater inclusion, a broader range of work was created. At the 1939 New York World’s Fair, over 1200 works of American art from each of the 48 states were included in the exhibition, American Art Today. Emphasizing the numerous styles and outlooks, the exhibition catalogue classified the works in the following categories: Conservative, Neo-romantic, Abstract, Social Content, Surrealism, Magic Realism, Regionalism, and American Scene. Likewise, in the current exhibition, such a wide range of styles is on view.