American Modern @ MoMA

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Xico Greenwald reviews the exhibition American Modern: Hopper to O'Keeffe at The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, New York, on view through January 14, 2014.

Greenwald writes that the show is "drawn almost entirely from the museum’s holdings, displays over 100 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs that exhibition organizers say contain a search for 'American-ness.' … 'American Landscape,' Sheeler’s iconic canvas, a highlight of this exhibition, is based on the Ford photographs. Here industrial silos, machinery, factory buildings and a smokestack are simplified into crisp geometric shapes while a cloudy sky and rippling river are soft-edged. The only figure in the painting is a tiny worker by the train tracks, easy to miss, making the active plant strangely quiet… Other scenes of an increasingly industrialized American landscape are Edward Hopper’s 'House by the Railroad,' 1925, Charles Burchfield’s gouache 'Railroad Gantry,' 1920, Louis Lozowick’s lithograph, 'Crane,' 1928, and Joseph Stella’s 'Factories,' 1918."

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