New Forms: The Avant-Garde Meets the American Scene, 1934-1949

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 8:00am to 9:00pm
Event Location: 
Iowa Memorial Union, Black Box Theater


This fascinating exhibition presents a selection of ninety works of art from the museum collection created during a seminal period in the history of 20th century American art. Addressing a significant core of the UIMA collection, from Jackson Pollock’s 1943 Mural and other gifts from collector Peggy Guggenheim, to works by Grant Wood, the exhibition provides a broad cultural overview of the terms and motivations of American modernism, with specific focus on Iowa as a hotbed of controversy and innovation, a place where the American Scene clashed with the avant-garde in ways that were central to the ongoing national debate over the future of American art.

Hardly a provincial regional outpost, the University of Iowa was uniquely positioned as a nexus of the modern art world, with prominent individuals and events that helped define the era and set aesthetic and ideological standards for the decades that followed. During this remarkable period the University was simultaneously the center of the Regionalist art movement, with Grant Wood as its most prominent and exemplary spokesman, and an emerging hub of the most progressive forms of modern art. In the early-to-mid 1940s, new professors and students set different standards positioning Iowa’s art collection as the repository of some of the most significant images of the 20th century.

This exhibit is co-curated by Obermann Advisory Board members, Joni Kinsey (Art & Art History, CLAS).