Venue：No. 2 Exhibition Hall
The extravagance and audacity of American art represented by Pop Art should be vastly familiar to audiences in China. Like any other cultural phenomenon, American art has taken shape over time. Pathways to Modernism: American Art, 1865–1945 aims to offer viewers a rich prelude to the American art of the post-war period through 80 paintings and prints created between 1865 and 1945, a crucial time in the history of the United States.
Over the course of these eighty years, the United States evolved from an agrarian society into an industrial nation. The Civil War changed the social fabric of the United States irrevocably and ushered in new technologies and a growth of industry. The wealth generated by increased industrial production laid the groundwork for the flowering of the arts. American artists developed innovative styles under the influences of multiple artistic movements. New modes of transportation, communication and entertainment offered artists new experiences and subjects. In the first half of the twentieth century, American art grew in sophistication, such that by the end of World War II, it was poised to take its place at the center of the art world.
All the works in this exhibition are selected from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the foremost museums in the United States and contains some of the best-known American modern art works such as Edward Hopper's Nighthawks; while the Terra Foundation for American Art, well-known for its rich and outstanding collection of American art, participated in the exhibition Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation held by the Shanghai Museum in 2007. Thanks to the support of these two institutions, the Shanghai Museum is finally able to unveil this exhibition after three years of preparation. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Terra Foundation for American Art for its generous financial support for the project and to the staff of the Art Institute of Chicago and our museum for their dedication!