Upcoming Exhibition

April 21, 2018
August 12, 2018
In the wing and Opatrny Galleries, Floor 2L

Shifting Ground presents a survey of landscapes from mid– to late–twentieth century American art. As imagined representations of place, landscapes are always mediated through artists. This exhibition explores how artists connected with and conceptualized landscape during this period. The works selected examine the significance of constructed place and the natural world by investigating landscape as a changing entity. 

The works in Shifting Ground range from photographs of the American West as captured through a car’s windshield by Garry Winogrand, to nonrepresentational, vibrant watercolors by Ralph Rosenborg. Artist Patricia Johanson plans for a constructed, ecological landscape, Ernst Haas focuses on abstracted forms in a saturated image of New England’s natural world, and Gabor Peterdi depicts a desert landscape through blocks of color and irregular shapes. Agnes Denes’s Rice/Tree/Burial and Alan Sonfist’s Gene Bank of New York City address concerns regarding the human impact on landscape and invoke contemplation on the discrepancies of scale for ecological time and space. This diversity reflects the expanded visual forms and material practices that developed during this era, such as abstraction and conceptualism. The exhibition also includes nineteenth-century landscape paintings from the Hudson River School to invite meditation upon how American landscapes have since changed, both physically and in the cultural imagination. 

This exhibition was curated by undergraduate members of Cornell’s History of Art Majors’ Society, with oversight by Leah Sweet, the Lynch Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs, and Brittany Rubin, print room curatorial assistant, at the Johnson Museum. 

Funding for the exhibition has been provided in part by a generous gift from Betsey and Alan Harris.