Exhibition Showcases American Folk Art
Attributed to Ammi Phillips (1788-1865), United States, James Mairs Salisbury, circa 1835, oil on canvas, 32 x 27 in. (81.2 x 68.5 cm). Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection.
Photography provided by the Cincinnati Art Museum
The Cincinnati Art Museum proudly presents “A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America,” a fun, colorful exhibition with wide audience appeal, June 10-September 3.
“This is the largest exhibition our institution has ever mounted on American folk art,” says Amy Dehan, curator of decorative arts and design. “It provides a really fantastic opportunity to view a diverse range of objects that span the history of 19th and early 20th-century American folk art.”
And what exactly is folk art? “The definition is rather fluid,” Dehan says. “In general, it is art that was created by regular people who had minimal, if any, training and were making objects to enrich the quality of their own lives and the lives of the people who were purchasing their art and living within their community.”
The show features American folk art from about 1800-1925, and includes paintings, sculpture, household items and furniture, primarily from New England and the mid-Atlantic areas, and the Midwest. “The exhibition features over 100 works, many of which are from the collection of Barbara L. Gordon, who is a very important collector of folk art,” says Julie Aronson, curator of American paintings, sculpture and drawings. “We have also added a significant number of loans from regional collectors. Among those are a number of intriguing pieces with Ohio and Cincinnati connections.”
A wide audience will appreciate these colorful and creative works of art. Because the exhibition includes a whole menagerie of animal sculptures and carousel animals, a giant rabbit among them, the show will be especially engaging for young people. “It’s going to be very appealing to families with children because there is so much whimsical and creative expression in these objects,” Aronson says.
Folk art is very accessible as well. “I believe many visitors find that folk art is a lot more approachable than perhaps other types of art,” Dehan says. “With these works, there’s an immediate connection, as they were made by everyday people for everyday people.”
The exhibition is ticketed, but shows are always free to museum members. Come ready to enjoy the vibrant colors of Americana.
“These are just really lovely, fun pieces that represent a multicultural experience of what America was like between 1800 and 1925,” Dehan says.
The exhibition is drawn from the Barbara L. Gordon Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
The Cincinnati Art Museum is located at 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 513.721.2787 or visit www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org. Tickets for “A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America” can be purchased at the museum or online.