San Diego Art museums open joint exhibition heralding American works


San Diego’s three art museums — Timken, Museum of Contemporary Art and San Diego Museum of Art — have been working for the past five years on a joint exhibit that opens Friday, Nov. 9, titled ‘Behold America!’

The exhibit features art from each of the museums’ collections, grouped into three main sections: Frontiers, Figures, and Forms. Each museum will show works from all three collections.

• Frontiers, now open at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, celebrates landscape: the rich natural beauty of the United States, its vibrant urban spaces, its legendary westward settlement, and the breathtakingly beautiful California landscape.

• Figures, opening Nov. 10 at The San Diego Museum of Art, examines the human form, presented by some of the most significant artists in the history of American art: John Singleton Copley, Eastman Johnson, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Cindy Sherman, and John Currin.

• The Forms section, opening Nov. 10 at the Timken Museum of Art, examines more inanimate objects, including works that range from early 19th-century still-lifes to more avant-garde interpretations. This section includes still-lifes of meat by Raphaelle Peale and a magnolia blossom by Martin Johnson Heade; abstractions by modernists Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, and Stuart Davis are major strengths of the exhibition; and pure formal sculptures by Sol Le Witt and Martin Puryear are likewise included. This section reveals changing attitudes to form and represent a pioneering approach by American artists in their attention to color, shape and line.