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Crystal Bridges is the only U.S. venue to host Picturing the Americas, exploring landscape painting across the Western Hemisphere

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces a new exhibition, Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, on view November 7, 2015 – January 18, 2016. General admission is $10 and the exhibition is free for Members and youth ages 18 and under.

Crystal Bridges is the only U.S. venue to host Picturing the Americas, the first exhibition to explore the evolution of landscape painting from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century in an inclusive, hemispheric context.  Picturing the Americas was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition arrives at Crystal Bridges from the Art Gallery of Ontario and will then travel to the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.

The exhibition was co-curated by Peter John Brownlee, Curator of the Terra Foundation for American Art; Valéria Piccoli, Chief Curator of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; and Georgiana Uhlyarik, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Associate Curator of Canadian Art.

“This exhibition gives visitors a platform to go beyond territorial boundaries and expand conversations and connections to landscape painting across the Americas,” says Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges Executive Director.  “It’s an honor to be the only U.S. museum where visitors can see this stunning exhibition, which connects deeply with the mission of Crystal Bridges to celebrate art and nature.”

Picturing the Americas invites viewers to traverse a vast and magnificent land mass that extends from Canada’s Arctic to the icy tip of Argentina and Chile to see the landscape anew through more than 100 oil paintings, watercolors, and prints. The exhibition includes works by well-known American landscape painters, Frederic E. Church, Martin Johnson Heade, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as masters from both North and South America, such as Jose Maria Velasco (Mexico), Juan Manuel Blanes (Uruguay), Lawren Harris (Canada), and Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil).  Landscape imagery from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century shows connections and continuities through shared history and land, while also celebrating distinctions.

“This exhibition brings together iconic works from different parts of the hemisphere, causing us to pause and consider what it means to be “American” in the most-expansive sense of the word,” says Crystal Bridges Curator, Mindy Besaw.

Highlights of the exhibition include, from South America, a depiction of Rio de Janiero, Félix-Émile Taunay’s Baia de Guanabara Vista da Ilha das Cobras, c. 1830; from the U.S., Albert Bierstadt’s Yosemite Valley, 1868; and Emily Carr’s Inside a Forest II, 1929-1930,  from Canada.

“Throughout the journey, visitors will see how landscape painting across the Americas corresponds with emerging settler nations asserting their independence. As the colonies matured into nations, artists moved toward painting more personal representations of the landscape.  The exhibition also helps us reflect on ways nature has shaped our identities and confronts a history of contentious colonization,” says Besaw.

Crystal Bridges curators invited Candessa Teehee, PhD, Executive Director of the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to add a Native American perspective to the exhibition, presented throughout the gallery in didactic material.

Picturing the Americas Programs & Resources:

  • International Symposium– In conjunction with the exhibitions, Crystal Bridges is hosting an International Symposium November 13 and 14, featuring scholars from North and South America. Panel discussions will focus on topics including Land, Icon, and Nation; Art and Exploration; and Modernity in the Landscape. The symposium provides opportunities for scholars, educators, students, and the public in an international exchange of views. Learn more about the symposium.
  • Programs – The exhibition and symposium will begin with an Opening Lecture by Ivo Mesquita, originator of the exhibition.
  • Exhibition Catalog- a 300-page catalog featuring essays by the co-curators and nearly 50 scholars and curators from across the Americas will be available in both English and Spanish in the Museum Store.
  • Lookout Points- interactive stations are positioned throughout the galleries in front of key artworks to provide a reference for the landscape painting. The Lookout Points are similar to a scenic overlook diagram visitors may have encountered at a national park.
  • Create-Your-Own-Landscape digital screen- allows visitors to create their own landscape based on one of four works in the exhibition. Visitors can place objects such as trees, buildings, vehicles, and even people in to the landscape and assign them a symbolic meaning. This will then be used to generate a personalized artwork label, shareable on social media and the museum’s Tumblr page.
  • Exhibition Website –with text available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Visit
  • Field Guide- a printed guide, inspired by scientific field notebooks, is designed for families to explore the exhibition together with activities and prompts. (Visitors can then turn in their completed guides to Guest Services for a button!)

Throughout the gallery, text is in both English and Spanish. For news updates, follow Crystal Bridges on our Blog, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #PicturingtheAmericas.

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