Esphyr Slobodkina, (American, born Russia 1908-2002), Desert Moon, 1941, Oil on board, 18 x 22 in., The Alfond Collection of Art, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond, 2017.15.5. Image courtesy of the Slobodkina Foundation, Northport, New York
September 18, 2021 - May 8, 2022

American Modernisms at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum

For many art lovers, the idea of “modern art” carries a certain sense of gravity, evoking the series of avant gardes—mostly “-isms”—that succeeded one another from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, challenging both the conventions of previous art movements and those of the societies around them. This exhibition explores the multivalent meanings of the term American modernism in the context of the collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. From the intensely observed realism of the Ashcan School to the freewheeling exploration of the 1970s, American artists have used the tools and techniques of modernist art to inspect, reflect upon, interrogate, and change the world around them. Rather than telling one story of American modernism, the collection at CFAM reveals many such narratives, many of which often overlap and even contradict one another. Importantly, these stories reveal that American art in the twentieth century was far from monolithic, reflecting the complexities of American art and life during the time of modernism. By paying particular attention to the ways in which American modernism both impacted and was impacted by the broader social life of the twentieth century, American Modernisms at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum seeks to present the collection in a new light, forging new connections, highlighting lesser-known artists, and ultimately enriching our understanding of American modernism as it is broadly considered.

Leo Amino, (American, 1911-1989), Triumphant Warriors, 1951, Mahogany, 47 x 16 x 12 in., The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara '68 and Theodore '68 Alfond, 2017.15.13.
Romare Howard Bearden, (American, 1911-1988), Odysseus; Fall of Troy, 1979, Color screenprint on wove Lana paper, 17 7/8 in. x 23 7/8 in., Museum Purchase from the Wally Findlay Acquisition Fund, 1992.12 © 2020 Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Visitors must register online for tickets prior to arrival.

Normal Hours of Operation:
Monday closed
Tuesday 10 a.m - 7 p.m.
Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m - 4 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday Noon - 5 p.m.


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