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Home | Exhibitions | Past Exhibitions | 1997 | Tradition and Innovation (June 19 - November 30, 1997)

Tradition and Innovation in the Twentieth Century

Phenomena Chinese Calendar
Paul Jenkins
(American, b. 1923)
Phenomena Chinese Calendar
ca. 1962
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Werner Muensterberger

This exhibition emphasized major artistic movements of the twentieth century. Imagery from numerous art-historical periods ranged from Egyptian to Renaissance to Modern and Surrealism. The exhibition served a tradition of rotating artworks in the Modern Gallery to help preserve the condition of works on paper and to display more art from the Museum's permanent collection.

The creative artistic energies of the twentieth century encompass tensions and resolutions between time-honored traditions and the spirit of innovation. Technological revolutions and intellectual advancements of this century were often set against a backdrop of political conflict, war, and social upheaval. These circumstances resulted in a mood of self-reflection which brought into question the nature and purpose of art. Avant-garde movements responded by expanding the vocabulary and materials of visual expression, while traditional currents in art were also sustained throughout the century. In viewing twentieth-century art, it becomes clear that artists and audiences have extended their capacity for choice in creative expressions: from the traditional to the experimental, from the beautiful to the disturbing, from single mediums to multi-media assemblages, and from logical wholes to fragmented impressions.


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