The Old, Weird America Exhibit at the Frye Art Museum

The Old, Weird America Exhibit at the Frye Art Museum

Ally Kim
Nov 20, 2009

This weekend, we're looking forward to the Old, Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art exhibition at Seattle's Frye Art Museum. It explores the resurgence of folk themes and mythic history in recent art from the United States and was awarded the prestigious Best Thematic Museum Show Award by the International Art Critics Association in 2008.

From the official press release:

"Covering the period from the first Thanksgiving in 1621 to the beginning of the Space Age in 1957, their representational paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, installations, and videos reconsider important legends and figures in United States history. Indians, Pilgrims, Founding Fathers, cowboys, Civil War widows, bobby soxers, and Depression-style drifters are among the quintessential American characters populating storytelling works that —like all good folklore —creatively combine myth and fact to suggest an alternative national history.

Similar to the Regionalist artists of the 1930s, the artists in this exhibition examine America's social history—the stories and characters we share to remind ourselves who we are. The exhibition postulates that in a post-9/11 America filled with high emotion and sweeping change, it is natural to look for inspiration in the similarly volatile and mercurial old, weird America of folk history. By giving visual form to archetypal stories and characters from America's past, the artists included in The Old, Weird America both participate in and reflect upon folklore's fraught role in the quest for roots, values, and authenticity."

The exhibit runs through January 3, 2010. The Frye Art Museum is located at 704 Terry Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104.

(Images 1 Charlie White. 1957, 2006. C-print. 44 ¾ x 56 inches. Courtesy Wohnmaschine, Berlin. 2 Jeremy Blake. Winchester, 2002. DVD: color, sound, 18 minutes (continuous loop). Courtesy Kinz, Tillou + Feigen, New York. 3 Greta Pratt. Nine Lincolns, 2000. Lambda print. 30 x 30 inches. Courtesy the artist.)

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