"American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe"

By Pepi, Michael | New Criterion, March 2014 | Go to article overview

"American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe"


Pepi, Michael, New Criterion


"American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe"

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

December 22, 2012-October 19, 2014

Speaking recently to a panel of museum curators, the former Whitney Museum Director David A. Ross referred to that museum's permanent collection as "a complex target." The world's foremost institution dedicated to American art has had a "very interesting set of responsibilities towards the idea of a collection, especially since the idea of what constituted American art kept changing."

By some curious but all too standard practice, the history of modern art in America is doled out in chapters. This story starts out with Henri and the Ashcan School, then the Stieglitz circle, the Armory show, the radical realist 1930S, the expressionist 1940S, the high modernist triumph of the 1950S, on to Pop, Minimalist, and Conceptual art. These chapters have porous borders but all unfurl under the cloud of an inferiority complex: In the last century, the American artist labored dearly to escape comparisons to their European forebears. At the Whitney Museum, the permanent collection covers all of this ground and more. Yet when asked to locate the heart of the collection, which for many is the core of every great institution, one would need to dive deeper into the story that begins with Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's various artistic and philanthropic activities in support of artists in New York. In 1907, Mrs. Whitney began organizing exhibitions and then, in 1918, she established the Whitney Studio Club, an incubator of sorts for John Sloan, Edward Hopper, Guy Pene du Bois, and many others. Shortly after the Metropolitan Museum of Art spurned her offer to donate her impressive collection, she founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1930.

"American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe," organized by Barbara Haskell, is drawn from the Whitney's impressive permanent collection. Concentrating on the first half of the twentieth century, it is a selection from the important years when American art first differentiated itself on the international stage. With the Whitney currently in the twilight of its tenure in the ultra-high modernist Marcel Breuer edifice, viewing "American Legends" takes on heightened significance: a welcome trip back for an institution on the cusp of a leap forward. It remains on view until late 2014, when the Whitney will pack up and move downtown to its dazzling new starchitect-designed home.

In the main three rooms of "American Legends" we find highlights from major figures from before and after World War II, illustrating how formal approaches to the enduring themes of American art spanned generations and cataclysmic world events. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

"American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.