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American Journey: Two Centuries of Art and Culture

July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 - Multiple Galleries

Marsh Landscape

Marsh Landscape

Louis Remy Mignot

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The Hudson River at Hyde Park, New York

Johann Herman Carmiencke

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The St. Johns River Entering the Atlantic Ocean

Herman Herzog

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Fisherman's Beach, Monhegan

Rockwell Kent

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West Shore Terminal

Leon Kroll

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Family Group

Charles Sheeler

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Nida (Patriots)

Shirin Neshat

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Deborah Roberts

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American art has expressed the ideals, aspirations, and sometimes challenges of the nation throughout its history. Each work of art is created in the context of a given period and thus reflects not only the artistic styles and tastes of the day, but also the period’s cultural values, social conditions, and momentous events. American Journey: Two Centuries of Art and Culture invites the visitor to explore this history through paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs dating from the 18th century to the present. Rather than taking a chronological approach, the exhibition is divided into thematic sections in which artworks of the past and present are seen side by side, emphasizing their shared and contrasting ideas. Thematic sections include The Land, The West, and The Sea, all of which focus on aspects of the American landscape which has been a central feature of national identity; The Farm, a place often romanticized that has symbolized American individualism and self-reliance; The City, a place of industry and commerce that came to dominate the American way of life in the 20th century; The People, as seen in portraiture and narrative art that has reflected social norms of the day while becoming more inclusive and diverse in recent years; and The Family, always revered, even as its definition has evolved.

American Journey is drawn from the Orlando Museum of Art’s collection of acquisitions, gifts, and loans. Historic works are primarily by artists of European descent, while contemporary art in the exhibition reflects the museum’s goals of representing diversity among artists included in the collection and diversity in the subjects they represent. As the collection continues to grow over time, the ongoing effort to be inclusive will create a collection that more completely represents the achievements of American artists in all periods of its history.

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