Exhibitions

Past

Icon of Modernism: Representing the Brooklyn Bridge, 1883–1950

September 17, 2016 - December 11, 2016
Rachel Cosby Conway, Alfred Heber Holbrook, Charles B. Presley Family and Lamar Dodd Galleries

In the words of scholar Alan Trachtenberg, “the Brooklyn Bridge symbolized and enhanced modern America.” From its opening in 1883 to the present day, artists have repeatedly depicted the bridge as a stand-in for both the city of New York and for the idea of modernity as defined by that city’s urban life. Such representation was particularly true during the period this exhibition treats, when artists were engaging with new forms of visual representation such as Impressionism, Cubism and Precisionism. Artists utilized newly built structures such as the bridge, the Woolworth building and the Flatiron building in conjunction with these innovative formal techniques to underscore the contemporary nature of their artistic production. By compiling a selection of works in varying media that feature the Brooklyn Bridge from artists on both sides of the Atlantic, this exhibition examines these modes of representation and how artists grappled with a particularly American brand of modernity as both positive and negative from U.S. and European perspectives.

This show featured approximately 40 paintings, works on paper and photographs by major American and European artists, primarily borrowed from leading institutions and private collectors. Artists include Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Steichen, Joseph Stella, George Luks, Jonas Lie, William Louis Sonntag Jr., Reginald Marsh, Louis Lozowick, John Marin, Childe Hassam, Ernest Lawson and Samuel Halpert, among others.

A fully illustrated slipcased hardcover exhibition catalogue including scholarly essays on the topic by Kimberly Orcutt, Meredith Ward, Sarah Kate Gillespie and Janice Simon (published by the museum) is available for purchase here.

Curator

Sarah Kate Gillespie, curator of American art

Sponsors

The National Endowment for the Arts, Shannon and Peter Candler, the Irwin and Hannah Harvey Family Fund, Teddy Johnson, the Piedmont Charitable Foundation, Margaret A. Rolando, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art