'What is America?'

file photoJohn Greenwald and Rita Lipman, both of Lowell, look over artwork on display at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy.

George Washington will be there.

So will Superman and Wonder Woman.

Those personalities and others are part of a new art exhibit at the Addison Gallery of American Art on the campus of Phillips Academy.

The gallery's exhibition program for the fall of this year through spring of 2020 explores the museum’s guiding question: "What is America?''

The Addison Gallery is one of the oldest institutions dedicated to American art and has one of the most significant collections of American art in the world, providing extensive resources to both high school students and the public, gallery Director Judith Dolkart said.

She said the new exhibit continues the museum's focus on justice in America.

“Radiating from the museum’s central question — What is America? — the Addison’s 2019–2020 programming explores the notion of justice in American art and life,” Dolkart said. “From the historical evolution of landscape preservation advocacy in the 19th century to environmental justice in the 21st, and from the fictional representation of virtuous icons like Superman and Wonder Woman to documentation of pervasive social injustice affecting everyday Americans, these exhibitions challenge students and the public to reconsider their perceptions of justice over the last two centuries of the American experience.”

Here are the gallery's major presentations in the fall-to-spring exhibit:

A Wildness Distant from Ourselves: Art and Ecology in 19th-Century America, an exploration of the evolution of the European American understanding of the natural world.

Men of Steel, Women of Wonder: An exhibition looking at the golden age of superheroes and their influence on contemporary perceptions of “truth, justice, and the American way” organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arizona.

Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950: The first museum survey to focus on the formative first decade of the American photographer’s 60-year career, organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation.

Wayfinding: An initiative of the Addison’s Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence Program inviting contemporary artists Sonny Assu, Andrea Chung, Liz Collins, Spencer Finch, Josh T. Franco, and Heidi Whitman to engage with Phillips Academy’s extensive collection of maps and create new work exploring how the land has been claimed, constructed and reconfigured throughout history.

Also on view during the 2019–2020 academic year are two exhibits drawing on the Addison’s collection of more than 23,000 works of American art. A group of Phillips Academy art students in the fall semester will go through the museum’s holdings to create an original exhibit. In addition, an exhibit titled "George Washington: American Icon'' will examine the image of the general-turned-president in American visual culture.

 

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