DOYLESTOWN, PA – The James A. Michener Art Museum is pleased to announce a generous grant award of $300,000 from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form (March 19 – July 22, 2017), a ground-breaking exploration of Sheeler’s fashion and portrait photography for Condé Nast between 1926 and 1931. This body of work — previously considered purely commercial and routinely dismissed — will be re-examined and recontextualized, revealing a critical juncture in the development of Sheeler’s aesthetic vision that would guide and inform the rest of his artistic career.
Philadelphia native Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) is recognized as one of the founding figures of American modernism for his pioneering work as both a painter and a photographer. Sheeler experimented early in his career with compositions inspired by European modernism before conceiving a linear, hard-edged style now known as Precisionism. Around 1910, Sheeler moved to Doylestown, PA where he began to explore photography, developing an entirely new visual vocabulary of compositional arrangement, dramatic lighting, and spatial distortion. Working in this mode, Sheeler produced iconic images of the Machine Age: skyscrapers, factories, locomotive engines, and power plants — perhaps most famously his 1927 photographs of the new Ford Motor Company Factory at River Rouge, outside Detroit, MI.
Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form will demonstrate that the dramatic viewpoints, rhythmic patterning, and abstract compositions seen in his photographs and paintings from the 1920s and 1930s — characteristics which established his reputation as a leading figure in American art — were influenced by his work at Condé Nast.
Major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage will enable the James A. Michener Art Museum to expand its diverse and creative programming, produce a fully-illustrated catalogue, and present a scholarly symposium. Truly multi-disciplinary and interactive, the exhibition will include photographs, paintings, sculpture, and period fashions displayed on mannequins, dramatically staged and lit to replicate Sheeler’s photographic strategies.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center fulfills this mission by investing in ambitious, imaginative arts and heritage projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life,and by engaging in an exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural leaders. For more information, visit pcah.us.
About The James A. Michener Art Museum
The James A. Michener Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits American art, and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known Delaware Valley artists of all eras and creative disciplines. The museum presents exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop a lifelong involvement in the arts. The James A. Michener Art Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, PA. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm. For more information, visit MichenerArtMuseum.org or call 215.340.9800.
For high-resolution images, please email Christine Triantos.