About the exhibition

On view March 10 through June 4, 2011.

Although we may at times forget, at this moment in the beginning of the 21st century we are inside a particular narrative of modernism. The paintings and drawings on view at the James depict scenes and characters from the history of art in the first six decades of the 20th century. They belong to the collections of the Museum of American Art, Berlin, and Salon de Fleurus, New York, and are painted by a group of anonymous artists.

How can the retelling of this American interpretation of European modernism be compacted into the space of one gallery? The display in the James juxtaposes actual documents with memories morphed by the passage of time and interpretation. Conjuring a strange sense of walking through the pages of a book, these well-known scenes summon and deploy collective memory, but do not merely recount the story. The uncanny insertion of multiples by anonymous artists calls attention to the construction of the narrative and perforates this in such a way that opens space for questions and other interpretations. This presentation at the James of the collection of The Museum of American Art, Berlin, is the first time this work has been seen in New York.

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