The new Figge Art Museum in Davenport opens its first major traveling exhibition today (Saturday), featuring more than 120 pieces of art, borrowed from galleries nationwide. Curator Michelle Robinson say the exhibit, called “The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity,” is focused on the two decades between 1915 and 1935. Robinson says artists were taking a new look at what was uniquely American and modern, our skyscrapers, jazz music, our commercialized products, things that Europeans were being influenced and seduced by. She says the exhibit links movements in art, culture, and civic identity as American artists broke free from European dominance in the visual arts and defined what it meant to be “modern” in America. Robinson says the exhibit is based on the book of the same title by Wanda Corn, a professor in Art History at Stanford University. She has interspersed the art and paintings with products from the period — everything from oceanliner programs and sheet music to postcards and various products. Robinson says visitors can also see and hear recordings from the era. There are viewing stations set up where you can see avant-garde shorts and listening stations where you can see or hear clips from famous movies of the day, hear the music of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway and see the dances of the period. The exhibit will be at the downtown Davenport museum through the end of the year. The Figge Art Museum just opened August 6th. For more information, surf to “www.figgeartmuseum.org”.
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