Yesterday, a historic nation-wide public art initiative kicked off in New York City’s Times Square. “It’s a wonderful juxtaposition, and a beautiful moment, to see Fitz Henry Lane’s Boston Harbor Moment next to a 60-foot-tall model walking down the runway on the billboard next to it,” says Michael Govan, the director of Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which teamed up with four of the country’s top museums—the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art—to put together the largest en pleine air art show ever.
Until August 31st, Art Everywhere US will display 58 beacons of American art on over 50,000 digital and material billboards across the country—on city streets, at town bus stops, across rural highways, on movie screens, bus shelters and taxi marquees. The museums offered up their collections’ standouts—from those by early pioneers, like John Singleton Copley and Thomas Eakins, all the way up to contemporary pieces by Cindy Sherman and Chuck Close—as finalists and, in an especially democratic touch, more than 180,000 people voted on which works would get their place in the sun. A few artists were so popular that voters picked multiple examples of their work; 19th century landscape painter Winslow Homer’s The Cotton Pickers, Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) and The Water Fan will both be displayed, as will Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Early Sunday Morning.
“Most Americans aren’t taught about American art in school, and this project is intended to put discussion about art back in the classroom—and at the dinner table, water cooler, and car pool,” says Dallas Museum of Art Director Max Anderson. Not to mention at Starbucks and on the subway.
Photos: Art EVERYWHERE!
Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Robert Mapplethorpe’s Ken Moody and Robert Sherman (1984, Jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by The David Geffen Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust, © 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation).
Art Everywhere US billboard in Columbia, South Carolina, featuring Charles Sheeler’s Classic Landscape (1931, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Collection of Barney A. Ebsworth).
Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring (above) Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington (1821, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge IV in memory of his great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, his grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge II, and his father, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge III) and (below) Grant Wood’s American Gothic (1930, The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection, Art © Estate of Grant Wood/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY).
Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Edward Hicks’ The Peaceable Kingdom (c. 1846 – 1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund).
Art Everywhere US billboard, featuring Martin Johnson Heade’s Giant Magnolias on a Blue Velvet Cloth (1890, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Gift of The Circle of the National Gallery of Art in Commemoration of its 10th Anniversary).
Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Charles Burchfield’s Noontide in Late May (1917, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).