Luigi Lucioni (American, 1900–1988). Paul Cadmus, 1928. Oil on canvas, 16 x 12 1/8 in. (40.6 x 30.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 2007.28
October 28, 2011–January 29, 2012
How did American artists represent the Jazz Age? The exhibition Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties brings together for the first time the work of sixty-eight painters, sculptors, and photographers who explored a new mode of modern realism in the years bounded by the aftermath of the Great War and the onset of the Great Depression. Throughout the 1920s, artists created images of liberated modern bodies and the changing urban-industrial environment with an eye toward ideal form and ordered clarity—qualities seemingly at odds with a riotous decade best remembered for its flappers and Fords.
Artists took as their subjects uninhibited nudes and close-up portraits that celebrated sexual freedom and visual intimacy, as if in defiance of the restrictive routines of automated labor and the stresses of modern urban life. Reserving judgment on the ultimate effects of machine culture on the individual, they distilled cities and factories into pristine geometric compositions that appear silent and uninhabited. American artists of the Jazz Age struggled to express the experience of a dramatically remade modern world, demonstrating their faith in the potentiality of youth and in the sustaining value of beauty. Youth and Beauty will present 140 works by artists including Thomas Hart Benton, Imogen Cunningham, Charles Demuth, Aaron Douglas, Edward Hopper, Gaston Lachaise, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Luigi Lucioni, Gerald Murphy, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston.
The exhibition was organized by Teresa A. Carbone, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art, Brooklyn Museum.
Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties is also made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Exhibition Fund, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, the Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Inc., Sotheby’s, the Norman M. Feinberg Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
The accompanying catalogue is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and a Brooklyn Museum publications endowment established by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
What did the Jazz Age look like?
Make your own selection from an array of popular photographs to see how it compares to the imagery created by the American artists featured in Youth and Beauty.
Learn more about Youth and Beauty using an MP3 player or cell phone. Hear commentary by contributors including Kurt Andersen, writer and host of PRI's Studio 360; Bill T. Jones, executive artistic director of New York Live Arts; and Lisa Padovani, costume designer for HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
Three ways to listen:
Download the free audio to your own MP3 player from iTunes U.
Rent an iPod for the day at the Visitor Center in the lobby.
Call in using your cell phone. Look for artworks with labels like this:
Curator Teresa Carbone discusses 1920s style with Jan Reeder, Lisa Padovani, and Kyle Ericksen.
what? this is not about 'youth and beauty' -- more like modern anxiety around industrialization. but I guess youth and beauty sells more tickets
This is a message to the curator: What you were thinking when you put the silver vinyl in the last room.... omg... I have to say that I think is the best part of the show....don't take it personal.
I wonder if now every single museum in the world is using the same pedagogical structure for all these shows, that half of them don't make any sense when they are put together.....
Sometimes less is more.