The 20th century saw some of the most seismic shifts in the tried-and-true tradition of landscape as a subject for artists. In the United States, we left the 20th century with many of the same concerns we entered it with. Among those concerns are issues of land use, expansion and border conflicts, and industrialization and the conservation of natural resources. During that radical period American artists looked at the land and environment through a kaleidoscope of new lenses ranging from the purely formal to the politically engaged. Now that we have moved well into the 21st century, we are well positioned to look back at the way this genre was engaged in the previous century.
Social & Sublime: Land, Place, and Art looks at land through ideological frameworks of wilderness, frontier, landscape and ecology to explore shifting views of nature as an artistic subject across the 20th century. This exhibition presents a series of perspectives relating to how American artists used land and place in their work in dialogue with the social, aesthetic, political, and cultural viewpoints that have shaped our understanding of land.