Title: Dripping World Caption: Norman Akers, citizen Osage Nation, born 1958; Dripping World, 2020; oil on canvas; 78 x 68 inches; Collection Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas, Gift of the Jedel Family Foundation 2021.102; © Norman Akers, Courtesy Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, photo: EG Schempf
Featured Photo Courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum
Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration At The Saint Louis Art Museum
As Missouri celebrates the 200th anniversary of its statehood, the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) presents a new exhibition, Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration, to showcase the vibrant creative heritage of the greater St. Louis area. The exhibition is curated by Melissa Wolfe, curator of American art, and Amy Torbert, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Assistant Curator of American Art. The SLAM exhibition focuses on the ‘confluence region’ and the range of creative objects that were produced there over the centuries. The exhibition will comment on how the region influenced the makers of these objects, both with its natural resources and the political, social and environmental viewpoints of each time period.
Title: The Mississippi at Elsah Caption: Frederick Oakes Sylvester, American, 1869–1915; The Mississippi at Elsah, 1903; oil on canvas; 30 1/8 x 45 1/16 inches; Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Schriever 2021.103; Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri—Columbia
History Of The Confluence Region
Due to the convergence of rivers, major trails, and routes, the “confluence region,” extending in both Missouri and Illinois, played a large role in the history of North America. The three most powerful rivers in North America—the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio—all meet within the region. Also, U.S. Route 66 cuts an east-west path through its center, and the Trail of Tears crosses its southern reaches. The four most heavily used overland routes to the West—the Santa Fe, Oregon, Mormon, and Overland Trails—departed or were supplied from the region’s center. The Art Along the Rivers exhibition captures the importance of this area and how it influenced the people by highlighting several communities’ rich artist traditions and cultures ranging from ancient Mississippian to modern day.
Title: Statue of Liberty Cabinet Caption: Julius Hasenritter, American, 1869–1923; Statue of Liberty Cabinet, 1886-1890; wood cutouts and paint on wood; 77 3/4 x 30 3/8 x 21 1/8 inches; Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, Gift of the Hirschhorn Foundation 2021.154; Image source: Art Resource, photo by David Stansbury
Bringing together more than 150 objects produced or collected in the confluence region, the Art Along the Rivers exhibition will display over a thousand years of art and history. The works originate from cultures including the ancient Mississippian, Osage (Wazhazhe), French, African American, and German, among many others. Each community left behind rich artistic traditions with vibrant legacies and their pieces range widely in function, prominence of maker, and featured materials. The objects on display include paintings, sculptures, photographs, furniture, ceramics, metals, textiles, and more. There will also be modern art brought into the sections as to show connections and differences to the exhibition’s historic objects and contexts.
Title: Scarab Vase Caption: Adelaide Alsop Robineau, American, 1865–1929; associated with Art Academy of the American Woman’s League, University City, Missouri, 1909–1911; Scarab Vase (Apotheosis of the Toiler), 1910; porcelain; 16 5/8 x 6 inches; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, Museum Purchase 2021.199;
The Art Along the Rivers exhibition will be on view in the main exhibition galleries at the Saint Louis Art Museum from October 3, 2021 through January 9, 2022. Visitors can expect to see objects from over a thousand years in the confluence region and to learn all about the creative heritage and creators. Also, the displays explore the area’s artistic communities as well as how objects have been used to advocate for political, social, and environmental points of view. Visitors will get to explore the dialogue created by the thematic arrangement of the exhibition. This design was chosen to help visitors understand how the combination of geological and cultural aspects influenced the region’s artists and highlight the surprising variety of objects created, collected, and exhibited in the area. There is also a helpful 224-page, fully illustrated catalogue that can be purchased in the SLAM shops to use at the exhibition.
Tickets to the main exhibition galleries for the Art Along the Rivers exhibition are $12 for adults, $10 dollars for students and seniors, $6 for children 6-12, and children under six are free. You can purchase tickets online through MetroTix on the Saint Louis Art Museum’s website or at the museum’s information desks. For more information, visit the Saint Louis Art Museum website, https://www.slam.org/, call the museum at (314) 721-0072, or find them on social media.