American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe

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This audio guide highlights selected works by artists in American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe. Curators, scholars, and artists provide additional commentary.

About this artist: Stuart Davis

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Narrator: Stuart Davis’s early artistic training was fairly traditional. But after he discovered modernist artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, he began to think afresh about what made a good painting. For him, the exploration of avant-garde form was exciting because he believed it mirrored the contemporary world. Only modern art, he felt, could reflect new conceptions of time and space. He believed it was also the visual language that best captured the defining characteristics of twentieth-century America: jazz, the movies, and mass communication.

Narrator: Stuart Davis’s early artistic training was fairly traditional. But after he discovered modernist artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, he began to think afresh about what made a good painting. For him, the exploration of avant-garde form was exciting because he believed it mirrored the contemporary world. Only modern art, he felt, could reflect new conceptions of time and space. He believed it was also the visual language that best captured the defining characteristics of twentieth-century America: jazz, the movies, and mass communication.