Artist News

Alice Neel at Kunsthalle Emden / Drents Museum Assen

The American Dream - American Realism 1965 - 2017
19.11.2017 - 27.05.2018
Kunsthalle Emden / Drents Museum Assen

A dream come true: the Drents Museum and the Kunsthalle Emden are bringing leading American artists to Europe! American Realism from 1945 to the present is being showcased in a double trans-border exhibition. The Drents Museum and the Kunsthalle Emden afford fascinating insight into the American way of life organised around the themes of Man, City, Landscape, Genre, and Still Life. As such the exhibition is much more than just an art-historical survey. The works from major American museums, corporate art collections, and private collections take you on a journey through the culture and history of post-war America.

For the double exhibition the Drents Museum in Assen is focusing on the period 1945-1965. In the wake of the Second World War Europe lay in ruin and America was perceived as the land of limitless possibilities with ‘The American Dream’ as the great ideal: prosperity can be achieved through hard work. The paperboy can become a millionaire, upward mobility is possible, the sky is the limit! A promising point of departure, however in reality success and wealth were not always within reach.

Picking up the double exhibition where the first part in the Drents Museum leaves off, the Kunsthalle Emden presents art from the period 1965-2017. Jasper Johns' American Flags signalled a break with prevailing painting conventions in 1957. From then on Pop Art artists, including Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein, focused attention on objects from daily life, advertising, and the consumer society. Photorealism gained ground from the mid-1960s with Malcolm Morley and Chuck Close, among others. Typical is their concern with perfect craftsmanship, as reflected in the work of Charles Bell, Ralph Goings, Robert Bechtle, Audrey Flack, and Richard Estes. As a counter-movement, painters of classical realism, still widely represented in the United States, based themselves from the 1970s on Renaissance, Baroque, and 19th-century art.