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BYU Museum of Art begins reinstallation of its permanent collection of American art

Will open Sept. 29 on museum's lower level

At the end of September, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art will open the first section of a new exhibition titled “American Dreams: Selected Works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection of American Art.” The remaining two sections of the new exhibition will open in February 2006.

“American Dreams,” will replace “150 Years of American Painting,” the current exhibition of the museum’s holdings that has been on view for the past 11 years. The new and expanded exhibition will appear on both levels of the museum and will include prints, sculpture and photography, as well as painting. The exhibition will include three thematic sections: “The Dream of Eden,” “American Aspirations” and “Envisioning America.”

The “Envisioning America” section of “American Dreams” will be on view beginning Sept. 29 in the Russell & Phyllis Marriott, Milton & Gloria Barlow and Robert W. & Amy T. Barker galleries on the museum’s lower level. The remaining two sections will open Feb. 24, 2006, in the Arline Harman Gallery on the museum’s main floor.

After officially opening in February, “American Dreams” will be on display for five years. After five years, the permanent collection will be re-installed with additional works and a different focus.

The artwork in the “Envisioning America” section convey multiple visions of the nation as portrayed by American artists. Early examples reflected and perpetuated a vision of America as heir to the values of Western civilization, such as democracy, classical order, and Christianity. American artists of this era appropriated European styles and Christian sensibilities to mythologize the founding events of the nation.

After the Civil War, America experienced an industrial boom and became a wealthy nation. Citizens of the new country tested their identity against the countries of Europe. Self-consciousness about America’s reputation as a cultural backwater spurred attempts to prove cultural sophistication. American artists studied art in Paris and Munich, and emulated modern European styles well into the 20th century.

America emerged as a new world power after World War I. Following World War II, the nation realized its identity as one of the most powerful nations on earth. Some American artists celebrated the achievements of their country, while others exercised their right of free speech to critique society.

The “Envisioning America” section will include works by Alexander Calder, Cyrus Dallin, Maynard Dixon, Robert Indiana, Daniel Ridgway Knight, Francis Davis Millet, Norman Rockwell, Minerva Teichert, Andy Warhol, Benjamin West and Mahonri M. Young, among others.

This section will also contain a reading room that will allow museum visitors to study the themes of the exhibition and the lives and work of the featured artists in greater detail.

This exhibition is free and open to the public. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information on exhibits and museum programs, call (801) 378-ARTS.

Writer: Christopher Wilson

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