November 10, 2012–February 10, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art
700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
The San Diego Museum of Art
1450 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
Timken Museum of Art
1500 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
On November 10, three San Diego art museums—the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art—will bring together the finest American works from their permanent collections to present a groundbreaking collaborative exhibition titled Behold, America! Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums. Internationally known for their permanent collections and scholarly exhibitions, these institutions together provide a three-museum venue for Behold, America!
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 three institutions, 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 exhibits Frontiers, which opened earlier this fall and 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.
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 during their visit and at home, including a mobile tour. Featured events related to the exhibition include: a member preview and reception on Friday, November 9 at all three institutions; an exhibition symposium on Saturday, November 10 at the San Diego Museum of Art; and a panel discussion with the three executive directors from the museums on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
A full-color comprehensive catalogue will be published in conjunction with the collaboration, and will include essays by an international array of experts, including Alexander Nemerov, Michael Hatt, and Frances Pohl.
Behold, America! Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums is a collaborative exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art. Lead support for the show is provided by a generous grant from the Qualcomm Foundation.
Further major funding has been received from the Henry Luce Foundation and Jake and Todd Figi. Additional support for the show is provided by San Diego Gas & Electric®, US Bank, Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust, RBC Wealth Management, ResMed Foundation, the Wells Fargo Foundation, the John M. and Sally B. Thornton Foundation, Bertrand at Mister A’s, and the Members of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art.
Institutional funding for all three museums is supplied by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
From left: John Currin, The Hobo (detail), 1999. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, Contemporary Collectors Fund, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Robert Henri, Bernadita (detail), 1922. Oil on canvas. Gift of the San Diego Wednesday Club, The San Diego Museum of Art. John Singleton Copley, Mrs. Thomas Gage (detail), 1771. Oil on canvas. Timken Museum of Art, Putnam Foundation Collection, San Diego.