Terra Foundation-supported Events

Virtual Film Screening: The New Bauhaus

As the Nazis took over Germany, many displaced Bauhaus masters found refuge in the United States, including László Moholy-Nagy. In 1937, he established what many now consider America’s most influential mid-century school of design. The New Bauhaus is a documentary film exploring the artistic practice and legacy of László Moholy-Nagy, with particular focus on his time spent as founder and director of the New Bauhaus (later the School of Design and currently the IIT Institute of Design) in Chicago during the 1930s and 40s. Running 89 minutes in full, the documentary offers an illuminating portrait of a visionary teacher and thinker through archival footage plus interviews with his colleagues and contemporaneous practitioners and patrons of design, cultural historians and curators, and Moholy-Nagy’s daughter, Hattula.

In this virtual Q&A, Opendox brings together Director Alysa Nahmias, Executive Producer Marquise Stilwell of Opendox, and Curator of Photography at The Art Institute of Chicago Liz Siegel.

Join the virtual Q&A.

The New Bauhaus is available for streaming in Opendox’s Virtual Cinema Friday, June 12, through Thursday, June 18. To rent the film for viewing at home, visit The New Bauhaus website. The New Bauhaus is supported through Art Design Chicago, a Terra Foundation initiative.


Virtual Lecture Series: “Regarding the Portrait”

In this virtual lecture series, Amy M. Mooney, 2019–20 Terra Foundation Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford, examines the central role portraiture played in fostering social change in the United States from the 1890s to the 1950s. Drawing from her forthcoming book, Portraits of Noteworthy Character, Professor Mooney considers the strategic visual campaigns generated by individuals and social institutions that used the portrait to advance their progressive political ideologies. From the etiquette texts used at historically black colleges to the post cards produced by Hull House to the Harmon Foundation’s exhibition of “Portraits of Outstanding Americans of Negro Origin,” this series explores the ways in which the portrait was employed to build social relationships and negotiate modern subjectivity.

May 25
“The Primers”
For more information: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/event/the-terra-lectures-in-american-art-regarding-the-portrait

June 1
“The Photographers”
For more information: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/event/the-terra-lectures-in-american-art-regarding-the-portrait-0

June 8
“The Progressives”
For more information: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/event/the-terra-lectures-in-american-art-regarding-the-portrait-1

June 15
“The Pragmatists”
For more information: https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/event/the-terra-lectures-in-american-art-regarding-the-portrait-the-pragmatics

Lectures will begin at 5:00 pm in Oxford (GMT +1) and be livestreamed on YouTube (links available above).

Exhibition: Peter Saul: Pop, Funk, Bad Painting and More

Consistently attentive to the chaos of the world, Peter Saul has engaged with some of the most sensitive issues of the 20th and 21st centuries. Covering his career since the late 1950s to the present day, the exhibition brings together more than 70 paintings, many previously unseen, as well as a collection of archival material. Despite the fact that Saul’s work reflects major movements of the 20th century, including Pop, Funk, and Bad Painting, the artist resists such categorizations of his work. Instead, Saul’s defiant style established a new form of historical painting that revolted against standards and served as a model for a generation of painters.

This exhibition was previously at les Abattoirs, Musée – Frac Occitanie Toulouse. For more information, please visit:


Exhibition: Signs and Wonders: The Photographs of John Beasley Greene

Over the course of his brief career, John Beasley Greene produced a body of pictures that advanced both archaeology and photography and that continues to offer insight into the central concerns that shaped the two fields. This exhibition, the first retrospective of this photographer, contextualizes Greene’s career through new scholarship, nearly 70 rare prints and albums, and Egyptian artwork from the Art Institute’s collection. This exhibition considers the complex aesthetic and political lenses that we use to look at photography and the past, as well as the complicated relationship between photography, colonialism, and modernism.

For more information, please visit:


Digital Symposium: “‘Nature’ in American Art since 1970”

This digital symposium, organized by Joshua Shannon, 2019–20 Terra Foundation Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, will consider if the art produced in the United States over the last fifty years can help us model a new human-nonhuman relationship for the era of climate change. Has recent American art, to be slightly more specific, imagined any viable alternative to the modern idea of nature as the passive “other” to human agency, an object or image to be exploited or protected by “man”? What role might art play in the cultural transformation that will be necessary for stopping climate change? This symposium brings together a small group of leading scholars and invites them each, through close analysis of works of art, to propose answers to these questions.

For more information, including the program, please visit the university’s event page.

The symposium recording is available online. 

Exhibition: Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945

Mexico underwent a radical cultural transformation at the end of its Revolution in 1920. A new relationship between art and the public was established, giving rise to art that spoke directly to the people about social justice and national life. The model galvanized artists in the United States who were seeking to break free of European aesthetic domination to create publicly significant and accessible art. Numerous American artists traveled to Mexico, and the leading Mexican muralists—José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—spent extended periods of time in the United States, executing murals, paintings, and prints; exhibiting their work; and interacting with local artists.

With approximately 200 works by sixty Mexican and American artists, this exhibition demonstrates the impact Mexican artists had on their counterparts in the United States during this period and the ways in which their example inspired American artists both to create epic narratives about American history and everyday life, and to use their art to protest economic, social, and racial injustices.

For more information, please visit:


Exhibition: Edward Hopper

This exhibition presents Edward Hopper’s landscape and cityscape paintings. This focus on landscape offers a unique angle on the American painter’s work. In the art-historical tradition, landscape has always implied humankind’s impact on nature, and Hopper’s paintings reflect this in a subtle and multifaceted way through non-picturesque depictions. The show includes  oil paintings, drawings, and watercolors, ranging in date from the early 1910s to the 1960s.

For more information, please visit:


Collection Loan: Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago

From the Terra Collection for American Art, Marsden Hartley’s, Painting No. 50 is exhibited in Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.  Curated by Olowu, the exhibition reimagines relationships between artists and objects across time, media, and geography.

For more information, please visit:



Marsden Hartley, Painting No. 50, 1914–15, oil on canvas, 47 x 47 in. (119.4 x 119.4 cm), Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.61
Seminar: Game Plans: Strategic Design and Positioning Methods in Chicago, 1970–

Strategic design—or the application of design methods to business planning and analysis—is a design specialization pioneered by Chicago-based industrial designer Jay Doblin (1920–1989), which saw the rise of a consumer-centered design practice. Drawing from design archives held in Brighton, Chicago, and London, Penelope Dean examines the inspirations and greater dissemination of Doblin’s game plans within an economic context and exposes the ways in which Chicago’s New Bauhaus gave way to a market-driven legacy of design practice.

This program is part of Chicago: City of Commerce and Design, 1890–1990 at the Newberry Library, a scholarly seminar series exploring Chicago’s rich design legacy by focusing on the many ways that designers responded to the city’s shifting trends in manufacturing and corporate culture, and presented as part of Art Design Chicago. To RSVP, visit https://www.newberry.org/05072020-penelope-dean-university-illinois-chicago