The circle of artists associated with “291,” the gallery owned by Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946), has come to occupy a pivotal place in the history of American modernist art.
The circle of artists associated with “291,” the gallery owned by Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946), has come to occupy a pivotal place in the history of American modernist art. The artists, including Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley, were committed to the belief that nature was the source for the renewal of visual culture. This was a view that was increasingly contested in 1915 with the arrival in New York of Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) and Francis Picabia, who promoted modern machinery as a creative catalyst and touted a more theoretical approach to art. The approximately seventy-five paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings included in this exhibition curated by Debra Bricker Balken represented the rivaling schools and reflected their opposing views on such subjects as abstraction, nature, creative intuition, and modern machinery.
Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and writer who has organized numerous exhibitions on subjects relating to American modernism and contemporary art for major museums nationally. Her books include Philip Guston’s Poor Richard(2001) and Abstract Expressionism: Movements in Modern Art (2005) as well as recent exhibition catalogues such as Dove/O’Keeffe: Circles of Influence (2009), After Many Springs: Regionalism, Modernism and the Midwest (2009), John Storrs: Machine-Age Modernist (2010) and John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury (2011).
The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts. It is a project of ART ACCESS II, a program of the AFA with major support from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. Additional support is provided by the National Patrons of the AFA.