Five Tips for A Season of Modernism

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Five Tips for A Season of Modernism

After a month of preparation behind closed doors, Reynolda House Museum of American Art will re-open to the public this weekend with a special behind-the-scenes tour called “Reynolda Meets Modernism." The tour, which explores the modern features of the house, is a teaser for the highly anticipated exhibition “American Moderns, 1910-1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell,” opening February 7. Here are five things to know as you share in the season celebrating five decades of modernism at Reynolda House.

  1. Modern art can be both abstract and representational. What do you think of when you think of modern art? In the exhibition “American Moderns,” you’ll see some of those groundbreaking  works of abstraction, in which artists explored color, form, and line rather than painting a representational scene; but you’ll also see some stunning representational work produced during the same time period. Norman Rockwell’s Tattoo Artist is one of his most iconic paintings, and, like most of his work, it was based on a photograph. 

  2. Streamlined Modern. The 1930s recreation room in Reynolda’s basement, which features a stunning Streamlined Modern bar, represents a different style than the upstairs of the house. Streamlined Modern is a late type of Art Deco architecture and design that became popular in the 1930s. The style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and sometimes nautical elements. Look for the convex/concave mirrors when you explore the bar.

  3. O’Keeffe. Sure, everyone knows the works Georgia O’Keefe painted in the Southwest, but did you know that one of her most prolific periods came on the banks of Lake George, NY, not in the desert? You’ll have the chance to see for yourself when you discover FIVE of her paintings on view this spring from both the Museum’s collection and in the “American Moderns” exhibition from the Brooklyn Museum.

  4. Bring your iPad or smart phone. This spring, you can watch brief videos from art experts sharing insight on modern works of art on view in Reynolda Moderns--on your smart phone! While in the gallery, you’ll be able to scan a QR code on the label or use the search tool at to hear the background story about your favorite work of art. Just ask one of our staff members for the password to the wireless network. (Texting and Tweeting about your discoveries is encouraged! Please, no phone calls or photographs.  #americanmoderns #reynoldamoderns)

  5. Seeing is Believing. The American Moderns catalog is beautiful, and seeing the images of these works of art online is impressive. But an image can only convey a small portion of the intricate paint strokes and vibrant color in these paintings. Our staff has been looking at these images in books and online for months as we prepped for the exhibition, but when we saw the gallery…. well, just trust us. You have to see it in person.

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