“Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy” takes a studied look at the singular works of art assembled by the United States Department of State in 1946 to represent the most advanced examples of American painting of the time. The collection’s curtailed tour of Eastern Europe and Latin America prevented a full consideration of what the paintings had to say about the artists and the period in which they were created. Nearly seventy years after Advancing American Art was conceived, the organizers of the present exhibition—the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, and the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia—have worked together to give the artists and the original State Department organizers their due acknowledgement. “Art Interrupted” reunites all but ten paintings (for which there are no known locations) from a checklist of 117 oils and watercolors sold as war surplus in 1948, in an exhibition that demonstrates again the great worth in freedom and diversity.
“Art Interrupted” features works by Milton Avery, Stuart Davis, Adolph Gottlieb, Marsden Hartley, Reginald Marsh, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, and many other well-known artists. Less familiar to audiences today, artists such as Paul Burlin, Charles Howard, Loren MacIver, Irene Rice Pereira, Nahum Tschacbasov, and Karl Zerbe are represented by significant works that complete a survey of the “leading exponents of modern trends” working in the United States after World War II. The exhibition draws chiefly from the permanent collections of the three organizing museums, with loans from several other public and private collections across the country.
The exhibition, accompanying catalogue, educational programs, and national tour of “Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy” are made possible by grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as part of American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Sept. 8, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, March 1-June 2, 2013
Indiana University Art Museum, Sept. 13-Dec. 15, 2013
Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Jan. 25-April 20, 2014