It is relatively rare for a small university art museum to have an opportunity to organize a major touring exhibition, accompanied by a scholarly catalogue and, on top of those endeavors, to offer a comprehensive index that will assist art historians, curators, and collectors interested in twentieth-century American art. “Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists” is such a project. The exhibition will be on view at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art from September 14 through January 31, 2016, before traveling to three other museums.
For a number of reasons the Beach Museum of Art is uniquely qualified to explore the work of the pioneering art marketing enterprise that was Associated American Artists (AAA). The museum has a regional collecting focus that includes several AAA artists—John Steuart Curry, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and others—who worked with imagery and themes from rural and middle America. Another strength of the museum is its collection of more than two hundred AAA prints donated in 1992 by Raymond and Melba Budge of St. John, Kansas. Finally, the inherently interdisciplinary nature of AAA—with connections easily made to marketing, history, women’s studies, art history, and other areas of scholarship—has great appeal.
Beach Museum of Art curator and Art for Every Home project director Elizabeth Seaton has led the effort with skill and dedication, both at the museum and nationally, as she worked with collaborators and lenders.
We are grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for providing early and crucial support for the exhibition and catalogue. Long ago, the late Ross and Marianna Kistler Beach had the vision to sustain the museum with an endowment, which has assisted with this project’s costs. In addition, Edward and Karen Seaton stepped forward to make funds available from the R.M. Seaton Endowment for Exhibitions. Additional support came from the International Fine Print Dealers Association, Russell Clay Harvey and Patricia McGivern, and Candyce Russell.
I hope you will enjoy “Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists” and be as proud as I am of the work of Liz Seaton and the Beach Museum staff.
Linda Duke, Director