Yankee Spirit exhibit opens at MOA


American art is coming to BYU in a new exhibit that focuses on American history.

“The Yankee Spirit: Highlights from the New Britain Museum of American Art” debuts a who’s who collection of American painters from the 16th to the 21st centuries, including notables such as Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe and Norman Rockwell.

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"West Rock" by Frederick Church pays tribute to two English who were kept hidden by American colonists after they signed the death warrant of King Charles I.
The paintings come courtesy of The New Britain Museum of Art, which is dedicated to American art.


“Our masterpieces are considered a preeminent collection, ” said Claudia Thesing, NBMAA director of development. “It’s a great opportunity to view a body of solely American art.”

The highlights included in the MOA’s new exhibition have been released just once before. The first release was seven years ago to the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago.

“We are very pleased to have the exhibition go to Utah,” said Douglas Hyland, director and curator of NBMAA. “The collection exhibits the Yankee spirit of independence and democracy.”

All the paintings in the exhibition were created in New England and New York and convey regional perspectives from the cradle of American civilization. The Yankee identity was molded and shaped over time as immigration and westward expansion impacted American settlement life, according to a news release.

“In large part, the artists featured in this show are those who helped to propagate the idea of New England as a symbol for America,” said Danielle Hurd, graduate student curator of the exhibition. “However, as infusions of immigrants changed the ethnic make-up of New England and the nation’s borders pushed westward, it became apparent that American culture was also changing.”

“The Yankee Spirit” exhibit is divided into three main sections: Yankees, Town and Country and Ports of Exchange. The MOA hopes patrons will be able to experience through masterpieces of American painting what it means to be a Yankee, how city and country life were key components to American settlements in New England, as well as New England’s European heritage and Enlightenment ideals.
The Museum of Art will host an exhibition preview on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. as part of the 2011 America’s Freedom Festival. Participants will be treated to entertainment and light refreshments. The public is invited to attend and admission is free. The exhibit opens Thursday and runs Monday through Saturday until Oct. 29. More information is available by visiting moa.byu.edu.
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