I recently read about a gallery in Delaware that has a wonderful show up of American art. I would love to see it, but being in Chicago I looked at the images on line. There's a lovely Mary Cassatt drawing of a mother and baby, a couple of Milton Avery's, reminding me why he had to grow on people, but when you get him, he sticks! and a variety of paintings by a variety of the Wyeth family, and much more, including Thomas Hart Benton and Georgia O'Keeffe. Many of these are my favorite artists. And I was certainly grateful that it wasn't another list of all male artists!
My issue: I keep finding books, articles and galleries that promote American art produced by only one group of Americans. I know there are galleries that show specialized artists, African American, Haitian, Cuban, Latino, many of which also show artists of European descent. I understand a niche gallery. I don't understand saying a gallery is showing American art and then only shows a segment of American artists that seem to exclude artists on racial terms, probably without a second or even first thought about it.
Please go to the gallery website to see the work, but remember there were/are other American masters, such as Joshua Johnston, Henry O. Tanner, Edmonia Lewis, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Geraldine McCullough, Margaret Burroughs, Charles White, Faith Ringgold...not to mention all the current living artists like Kerry James Marshall, Dawoud Bey, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, and others too numerous to list! Why are these artists often excluded when mounting exhibitions featuring American artists?
I don't see any evidence that this gallery thinks there were/are artists of color who are masters, or maybe they can't get their hands on the work. Not sure, but since this is no isolated incident, I wanted to just point it out. Wikipedia only lists Sam Gilliam and Martin Puryear, no Kerry James Marshall (MacArthur genius), Kara Walker, Fred Wilson (Venice Bienale), Robert Colescott, Richard Hunt and on and on...Most of the time you probably don't think about who is left out, or do you?
Catlett's "Two Generations" is in my art collection.
Yale University teaches a course on American masters.
101 Stone Block Row | Greenville, DE 19807 | 302.652.0271 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ©2009 Somerville Manning Gallery