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At the Dawn of a New Age: Early 20th Century American Modernism

Produced in partnership with Apollo Magazine, this panel takes as a starting point a recent exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art and explores how modernists used abstraction in response to the realities of a rapidly modernizing world

TEFAF Talks are interactive panel discussions presented in collaboration with TEFAF’s partners to share knowledge and expertise.

Apollo Magazine editor Ed Behrens spoke with Barbara Haskell, curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she has been responsible for groundbreaking exhibitions such as BLAM! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958–1964 (1984), The American Century: Art & Culture 1900–1950 (1999), and Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 (2020).

As At the Dawn of a New Age: Early Twentieth-Century American Modernism opens, we discussed why Haskell was interested in exploring this period now, why some artists make it into the canon and why others do not, and how you capture the optimism of a past era.

At the Dawn of a New Age: Early Twentieth-Century American Modernism brings together works by lesser-known modernists and familiar icons, created between 1900 and 1930. It uncovers how these artists used abstraction and responded to the realities of a rapidly modernizing world. Featuring artworks drawn primarily from the Whitney’s collection, including new acquisitions and rarely seen works, the exhibition represents over 60 works by more than 45 artists working in various styles and media, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, and photographs. At the Dawn of a New Age offers a broader perspective on early twentieth-century American modernism by including groundbreaking, historically overlooked artists like Henrietta Shore, Charles Duncan, Yun Gee, Manierre Dawson, Blanche Lazzell, Ben Benn, Isami Doi, and Albert Bloch in addition to well-known artists like Marsden Hartley, Oscar Bluemner, Elie Nadelman, Charles Burchfield, Aaron Douglas, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

For more information, visit the website of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

This TEFAF Talk in partnership with Apollo Magazine was part of TEFAF New York 2022’s programming and recorded live on May 8, 2022.

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