Art Institute of Chicago Exhibit of an Evolving American Art Scene
With a focus on the downtown Chicago area, Anne Ewasko serves as an agent with Baird & Warner in Chicago, a role in which she assists clients seeking quality residential properties. Anne Ewasko has a passion for art and is drawn to 20th century artists such as Henri Matisse and Jackson Pollock. One institution that Chicago art lovers particularly enjoy is the Art Institute of Chicago, which couples a distinguished permanent collection with exhibitions covering diverse aspects of art history.
A prominent 2016 exhibition, “America after the Fall: Paintings from the 1930s,” takes a close look at an evolving social landscape. With the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent economic depression providing a catalyst, American art in the 1930s witnessed a profound search for a new identity. Regional American artists took the lead in this search, with artists such as Thomas Hart Benton celebrating the country’s “native” virtues and Grant Wood casting his gaze at the myths and fables that underpinned a rapidly urbanizing society. Meanwhile, Edward Hopper took a distinctly darker, more reflective approach in his depictions of American desolation.
At the same time, a new type of socially conscious artist emerged, with painters such as Ben Shahn highlighting the plight of those at the margins of society and bringing attention to calls for reform. Taken together, the varied artworks presented in the Art Institute exhibition present a revealing search toward a new conception of what America could be.