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Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists

This traveling exhibition and its accompanying publications provide the first comprehensive overview of Associated American Artists (1934-2000), the commercial enterprise best known as the publisher of prints — sold via mail-order catalogue — by Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood.

The exhibition addresses not only AAA’s storied involvement in the popularization of American prints in the 1930s, but also its ongoing promotion of American art over six decades. Through aggressive marketing of studio prints, ceramics, and textiles, and associations with corporate advertisers, AAA sought to bring “original” American art over the threshold of every American home. “From Studio to Doorstep — Wherever You Are,” the company promised in a 1945 mail-order brochure. “No longer would the would-be possessor of a beautiful picture have to go to town and visit an art dealer; or still harder, hire somebody to do it for him. Quite the contrary! Every American post office [is] to be like a branch agency for the creations of the pick of American artists.”

A major catalog distributed by Yale University Press containing essays by scholars in the fields of American painting, printmaking, textiles, ceramics, and interior design accompanies the exhibition. A free, illustrated index of AAA prints, textiles, color reproductions, and ceramics will be made accessible online as a searchable PDF.

Organized by the Beach Museum of Art, the exhibition of 136 objects from over 25 museums and private collections will travel to the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, April 19-July 9, 2016; The American Textile History Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts, September 16, 2016 – January 2, 2017; and the Syracuse University Art Galleries, New York, January 26 – March 26, 2017.

The exhibition’s co-curators are Liz Seaton of the Beach Museum of Art and Jane Myers, former curator at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. Scholar Gail Windisch, Los Angeles, is a third important contributor to the exhibition. Her original research served as the base for the project.
Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century

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