“Becoming America” Now Open at the BYU Museum of Art

 In MOA Features
Maynard Dixon, Free Speech, 1934-`936

Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), “Free Speech,” 1934-1936, oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 40 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1937.

What do we mean when we say “America”? Some think first of the United States of America, even though the land now called America existed long before the modern country that would eventually fill it from ocean to ocean. Others might think of the diverse groups of peoples who have called this land home, and contemplate the cultural contributions made by native inhabitants along with later colonizers and immigrants. Others see America as a set of ideals, a system of beliefs, practices, and ways of approaching governance and community. Each set of these perspectives tells part of the American story. America is all of these things and more.

The new exhibition Becoming America explores the American story, from many different perspectives. The exhibition features renowned artists including Maynard Dixon, Minerva Teichert, Norman Rockwell, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and others. The exhibition also brings works to light which have not been previously displayed, in a variety of mediums, including paintings, photographs, prints, etchings, and sculpture, all from the MOA’s permanent collection.

While each artwork tells its own story, the exhibition is organized in thematic groups. Taken together, these themes explore how America’s power is evident not only in what the nation is but also what it is still becoming. Curator Kenneth Hartvigsen said, “I hope that by organizing the exhibition as a series of interconnected themes we’ve created a conversation wherein patrons will find connections and draw narratives beyond those highlighted on the labels of the individual works.”

Hartvigsen emphasized, “My hope for visitors is that they will feel that there is great power in recognizing that we as individuals, and we as a nation, are never stuck or frozen in place, we are always full of potential, always becoming.”

Becoming America is now open at the BYU Museum of Art! Visit the exhibition and let us know which piece is your favorite!

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css.phpMahonri Young, "Gramercy Park Brick Layers."Maynard Dixon "Mesas in Shadow"