You are here

What is Rural Modernism? Lecture and Conversation

What is Rural Modernism? Lecture and Conversation

Join Brandywine associate curator Amanda C. Burdan and scholar Betsy Fahlman, Professor of Art History at Arizona State University, for a lively exploration of “rural modernism,” a fascinating new approach to interpreting American art between the world wars that includes artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, N. C. Wyeth, Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler and Grandma Moses. As the core of American modernism took shape, small towns played a part in creating a style that was reflective of the entire country. Many of these “rural” artists incorporated Pennsylvania places, such as Lancaster, Coatesville, Chadds Ford, and Doylestown into their paintings, taking modern art beyond the big cities. The program will include time to view the exhibition, Rural Modern: American Art Beyond the City and light refreshments. A book signing of the exhibition catalogue will be held directly following the talk. 


Program Schedule

1 p.m.  “American Crossroads: Rural Life Meets Modern Art” 
The story of how modern art first arrived in the United States takes many forms, but most accounts of the tale take place in New York or other major American cities. This, however, is only the beginning of the story. The full scope of American modernism reflects the undeniable impact that rural America had on the expansion and embrace of modernism in this country. Treatments of coastal New England, small-town Pennsylvania, Midwestern farms, and other rural regions of the country illustrate the translation, spread, and growth of an American version of modernism.                             

2 p.m.   Break to view exhibition, Rural Modern: American Art Beyond the City

2:30 p.m. “Rural Moderns: Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, and Pennsylvania” 
The crisp modernity of Precisionism is often associated with the urban and industrial imagery of the Machine Age. Yet some of the strongest works produced by its leading practitioners – Pennsylvania artists Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler – were inspired by rural structures and settings in locales where they spent significant amounts of time. From Demuth’s base in Lancaster and Sheeler’s in Doylestown, these artists created iconic images of American modernism and together defined this distinctly American style outside major artistic centers.

3:30 p.m. Book Signing: Exhibition Catalogue
Exhibition curator Amanda C. Burdan and scholar Betsy Fahlman will sign copies of the exhibition catalogue.