The British Museum has been intensively buying American prints for a major exhibition next year. The show, “The American Dream: Pop to the Present”, will deal with works from 1960 to today.
The past six decades have been among the most dynamic and turbulent in US history, from JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11 and Vietnam to the AIDS crisis, racism and gender politics. Responding to the changing times, American artists produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition.
Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition includes works by the most celebrated American artists. From Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu – all boldly experimented with printmaking. Experience this extraordinary history through their eyes.
Taking inspiration from the world around them – billboard advertising, global politics, Hollywood and household objects – American artists created highly original prints to rival their paintings and sculptures. Printmaking brought their work to a much wider and more diverse audience.
The sheer inventiveness and technical ingenuity of their prints reflects America’s power and influence during this period. Many of these works also address the deep divisions in society that continue to resonate with us today – there are as many American dreams as there are Americans.
This exhibition presents the Museum’s outstanding collection of modern and contemporary American prints for the first time. These will be shown with important works from museums and private collections around the world.
The exhibition will run 9 March – 18 June 2017
- Wayne Thiebaud, Gumball Machine from Seven Still Lifes and a Silverscape Portfolio , 1971