Over the last five years, the Amon Carter has focused on acquiring photographs that examine our nation’s enduring ideal as a land of opportunity. This exhibition, drawn from these new holdings, reveals how artists have mutually embraced and questioned that belief. In addition to highlighting the museum’s increased interest in contemporary photographers like Katy Grannan and Laura Letinsky, Focal Points includes significant new works by iconic figures like Alfred Stieglitz.
Texas Folk Art features the spirited work of some of the state’s most original painters and sculptors, including H. O. Kelly, Reverend Johnnie Swearingen, Velox Ward, and Clara McDonald Williamson, among others. Developing their own styles, these artists were unfettered by the conventions of academic training and traditional guidelines of art making. Lively storytelling was their primary focus, and they used any pictorial means necessary to create animated narratives about working, playing, and worshipping in Texas.
Dallas collector Trevor Rees-Jones first became interested in art and the American West when visiting the Amon Carter Museum of American Art as a young boy.
Years later that experience led Rees-Jones to gather one of the finest private collections of art of the American West, spanning the eighteenth century through the 1920s, including paintings, watercolors, sculpture, and photographs. The selection of the Rees-Jones Collection on view marks its debut showing in a museum.
A visionary storyteller, Esther Pearl Watson (b. 1973) blends memories and imagination to capture her Texas upbringing. A mural-size painting (about 13 feet tall and 10 feet wide), Pasture Cows Crossing Indian Creek, was created specifically for the Amon Carter’s atrium. It is part of the museum’s program of rotating contemporary artworks in the atrium space and an exciting addition to an ongoing exploration of Texas artists and their contributions to modern American art.