Art for Every Home

Associated American Artists, 1934–2000

April 19–July 9, 2016

Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934–2000

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"Grant Wood’s oil on masonite painting The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1931) can be seen in Gallery 900 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Further downtown, however, at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, the picture is also on view—that is, printed on a vintage piece of fabric (1952). The textile hangs in the downstairs room of the gallery’s current show 'Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934–2000' (through July 9)."

"The Grey Gallery exhibition includes dozens of early black-and-white AAA prints depicting rural vistas, Mexican laborers, ironworkers, and leisure-time pursuits in cities and heartland alike. The torqued bodies and tilted curves of crashing furniture in Benton's Frankie and Johnnie (1936), based on the song about a murderous love triangle, reveal the influence of such melodramatic masters as the sixteenth-century Italian Tintoretto, a role model Benton impressed upon his most famous pupil, Jackson Pollock."

In 1934, as the U.S. emerged from the Great Depression, an industrious businessman and arts patron named Reeves Lewenthal convened a group of artists, including Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood. He proposed that they produce prints for him to sell to the public at reasonable prices. Thus was born Associated American Artists (AAA), a highly influential commercial enterprise that brought art collecting to the middle and upper-middle classes in America. Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934–2000, on view at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery from April 19 through July 9, 2016, provides a fascinating survey of AAA, which inspired and cultivated American collectors over six decades.