Posted Aug 26, 2016
The Shorewood Library is currently expanding its selection of art books! Here’s three more titles that we’ve just added, including two exhibition catalogues from shows the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Thomas Hart Benton (1889 to 1975) is well-recognized as a Regionalist artist, but he also had close ties to the silent film industry and Hollywood. American Epics, the catalogue for the current feature exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, beautifully illustrates Benton’s life work, including sketches, drawings, photographs of clay models, and reproductions of his mural-sized paintings. Benton strived for equalitarianism, and he often used common, every day people as models for his larger than life images. For example, with behind-the scenes portrayals, the common worker is depicted on the same level as the Hollywood starlet. Benton was also one of the first artists to depict the atrocities against Native Americans and African Americans.
Contemporary Los Angeles painter Ramiro Gomez (b. 1986) addresses class, culture, and social equity through his work. Using acrylic paint, Gomez paints faceless figures of gardeners, nannies, pool cleaners, and maids on top of David Hockney’s images of domestic scenes, on glossy magazine advertisements, and on life-sized cardboard cutouts that are photographed in real life settings. Combining art and politics, Gomez, the son of undocumented Mexican parents, forces viewers to look at the lives of people who often go unseen.
During his long artistic tenor, California photographer Larry Sultan (1946-2009) captured psychological drama and emotive atmospheres through ordinary detail and domestic settings. Often using his parents as models, Sultan explore themes of home, family, and what it means to belong, combing personal reflection, public commentary, and social engagement throughout thirty-five years of work. Larry Sultan: Here and Home, an expansive exhibit previously featured at the Milwaukee Art Museum, includes over 200 images from several series including Homeland, Pictures from Home, The Valley, and Swimmers.