Coming to San Diego this fall, Behold, America!: Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums, an innovative collaborative exhibition among the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art. These three museums will bring together the finest American works from their permanent collections to present a groundbreaking collaborative exhibition. Internationally known for their permanent collections and provocative exhibitions, these institutions together provide a three-museum venue for Behold, America!, which will be on view from November 10, 2012 through February 10, 2013.
This civic collaboration, which presents work from the colonial period to the present, offers an unprecedented opportunity to view the full sweep of American art history as told through the visual art of each institution, and to reconsider how national and individual identities have shifted over time. While lending selected works among institutions is not uncommon, Behold, America! is unique in the scope of the exchange and the intermingling of these distinctive collections. It is also the first time the three institutions have worked together on one project.
Behold, America! is grouped into three main sections, Figures, Forms, and Frontiers, with each venue showing works from all three collections.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will exhibit Frontiers, the section of the exhibition that emphasizes landscape painting by artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Georgia O’Keefe and includes important installations by artists like Vito Acconci, Ann Hamilton, and Robert Irwin. This portion of Behold, America! will open September 16, giving visitors an opportunity to get a preview of the exhibition.
At The San Diego Museum of Art, early American portraiture by Thomas Sully will be seen in concert with contemporary works by Cindy Sherman and John Currin in the Figures component of the collaboration.
The Timken Museum of Art will present Forms, which will include examples of traditional still-lifes by Raphaelle Peale, early American modernism by Morgan Russell and Manierre Dawson, and a minimalist work by Agnes Martin. The Timken is the only art museum in Balboa Park to offer free admission during its regular hours. The San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will also both show components of Forms.
Additional artists represented in the exhibition, who are among the most important artists in the history of the art of the United States, include: John Singleton Copley, Eastman Johnson, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, and Lorna Simpson.
In conjunction with this exhibition, the museums will present a wide spectrum of programs, lectures, tours, and opportunities to enhance their experience with the exhibition both during their visit and at home. A full-color comprehensive catalogue will be published in conjunction with the collaboration and will feature essays by Alexander Nemerov and Frances Pohl.
Members of the three museums will be invited to special previews and will have the opportunity to view the exhibition in full at the partnering institutions.