For many art lovers, the idea of “modern art” carries a certain sense of gravity, evoking the series of avant gardes—mostly “-isms”—that succeeded one another from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, challenging both the conventions of previous art movements and those of the societies around them. This exhibition explores the multivalent meanings of the term American modernism in the context of the collection of the Rollins Museum of Art. From the intensely observed realism of the Ashcan School to the freewheeling exploration of the 1970s, American artists have used the tools and techniques of modernist art to inspect, reflect upon, interrogate, and change the world around them.
Esphyr Slobodkina, (American, born Russia 1908-2002), Desert Moon, 1941, Oil on board, 18 x 22 in., The Alfond Collection of Art, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond, 2017.15.5. Image courtesy of the Slobodkina Foundation, Northport, New York