Five leading U.S. museums came together in January 2014 with a daunting challenge: to celebrate the history of American art through a total of 100 great works--twenty each--from our respective collections.
Our museums have collaborated with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and with artists, estates, foundations, and rights agencies to share images of these 100 works with the public in August, so that you can vote for your favorites, informing a final selection of 50 works that will be reproduced in tens of thousands of public spaces nationwide, including billboards, street furniture, transit hubs, and many other channels. This collaborative effort is the first of its kind in the US, and follows a successful version in the UK in the summer of 2013, with plans to be repeated this summer as well. It affords an unprecedented opportunity to acquaint countless millions of Americans and visitors to our country with some of America’s best and most memorable artworks.
The 100 artworks illustrated on this website span the history of the United States, from portraiture before and after the American Revolution in 1776, to landscapes of the nineteenth century, both illustrative and imagined, to scenes of daily life in the last quarter of the 1800s, to still life paintings and images of the well-to-do. Selections from the early twentieth century take us to the American West through photography, to a scene from the Bible, to the emergence of abstract painting on American soil. The First World War is commemorated in colorful tributes, followed by artworks championing the centrality of the agrarian tradition and the emergence of an industrial economy.
Gritty urban scenes documenting the Great Depression are joined by an image of the Dust Bowl in the West. The genius and travails of African-Americans at that time are commemorated, along with Surrealism’s fascination with human psychology and perception. Abstract Expressionism’s explosion on the scene in the 1950s is chronicled in multiple masterpieces, a new form of artistic language that changed the rules of painting. Pop Art takes the stage in the 1960s, with several instantly recognizable images from the worlds of advertising and mass media. The decades since the 1970s are represented by the disparate forms and concerns of artists questioning the received wisdom of the past, probing topics ranging from identity politics to race to gender stereotypes.
All in all, the 100 works in Art Everywhere US bring us face-to-face with the story of our nation, told by the visionaries who captured our essence at the time they lived and worked, and who to this day compel us to find our place in the evolving story of America. From a stained glass window to a prairie quilt, the two-dimensional artworks in this wide-ranging selection invite reflection on the vernacular of American art, from high art to the everyday, from East to West, and from our origins to the present moment.
Art Everywhere US will provide chance encounters with great works of art to reflect the story of our country, encourage everyone to visit their local museums, and start a national conversation about the importance of nurturing creativity in our schools and in our daily lives. We hope you enjoy the biggest art exhibition in history—and please let us know which artworks you’d like to see reproduced, wherever you live or travel, by voting now!
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