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Behold America!


Mix it. Local institutions are doing just that with a new collaborative exhibition entitled Behold America! Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA), and the Timken Museum of Art are working together to provide fresh looks at taken-for-granted art.


Behold America! is presented in three sections — Figures, Forms, and Frontiers — with each art venue showing work from all three museum collections. In the MCASD Frontiers section, viewers will see landscape paintings by such artists as Albert Bierstadt and Georgia O’Keefe, and important installations by Vito Acconci, Ann Hamilton, and Robert Irwin. In keeping with the Figures component, SDMA highlights early portraiture by Thomas Sully alongside contemporary pieces by Cindy Sherman and John Currin. A terrific example of how this juxtaposed approach works is the show at the Timken, which offers Forms, with samples of traditional still lifes by Raphaelle Peale that mingle with early American modernism by Morgan Russell and Manierre Dawson, as well as a minimalist work by Agnes Martin.


Certainly, museums have long cooperated with each other by lending specific pieces. But, this exchange and intermingling of art from distinctive collections is pretty unusual. It’s a big undertaking with a non-traditional approach that encourages viewers to derive new meaning from institutional exhibits. Behold America! opens November 10 and will remain on view through February 10, 2013. (www.mcasd.org, www.sdmart.org, www.timkenmuseum.org)    DARLENE G. DAVIES


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