Terra Foundation-supported Events

Exhibition: Peter Hujar: Speed of Life

New York-based photographer Peter Hujar (1934–1987) is best known for his downtown nightscapes, erotic nudes, portraits of the city’s notable literati, and images of underground gay nightlife. Peter Hujar: Speed of Life will consider the artist’s career, from his apprenticeship in magazine and fashion work in the 1950s and the “radical chic” city of the late 1960s, to the age of AIDS, a disease from which he died in 1987. This exhibition will draw on approximately 150 photographs from across the artist’s career to present his rich, nuanced oeuvre and distinct worldview.

This exhibition is also on view at Fundacion Mapfre, Barcelona, Spain, (January 1–May 20, 2017), the Fotomuseum, The Hague, Netherlands (July 1 – October 15, 2017), and the Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, California (July 11 – October 7, 2018).

For more information, please visit: http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/peter-hujar

Exhibition: Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen

Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen is the first major survey of the work of the groundbreaking, multidisciplinary artist. The exhibition spans Pindell’s five-decades-long career, featuring early figurative paintings, pure abstraction and conceptual works, and personal and political art. Trained as a painter, Pindell has challenged art world traditions and asserted her place in its history as a woman and one of African descent. The exhibition also highlights Pindell’s work with photography, film, and performance.

For more information, please visit: https://mcachicago.org/Exhibitions/2018/Howardena-Pindell

Conference: “Eccentric, Realist, Populist, Procedural: The Politics of Figuration in American Art 1929–1980”

This conference addresses figuration in American art as a broad tendency that encompasses representational approaches as well as artworks that are underpinned by the human figure in a procedural sense, even where the body might appear obscure or highly mediated. The aim of this conference is to address figuration in relation to various flash points of social crisis in the United States, beginning with the impetus towards realism and its variants, including social surrealism during the Depression, and then traversing towards the mid-century moment when American abstract art gained global prominence at the onset of the Cold War. Across this 50-year period, the meaning and critical purchase of figuration became a contested ground for debate. On the one hand, it was associated with regression and the irrational, and on the other, with progress and the rational. Although such views cannot be assigned a fixed political value, figuration does not stand as a neutral category within this history. This conference seeks to explore such issues in relation to the various struggles over who counts as human during this period, and to consider how artists working with the figure engaged with this, in both reactionary and critical modes. How did figuration act as a means to humanize, or conversely de-humanize, individuals and social groups? Such debates took shape within a variety of politico-historical conjunctures, from the leftist Cultural Front to the black arts movement, from Cold War debates around humanism to artists producing work in opposition to the Vietnam War. And following on from this, how has representation of the human figure frequently been situated as a responsibility to bear, or conversely, a burden to shed, within struggles around race, class, sexuality, and gender in the United States?

The conference is organized by Dr. Larne Abse Gogarty, the Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte at Humboldt-Universität, in Berlin.

Keynote speakers:

  • Darby English, Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History, The University of Chicago
  • Andrew Hemingway, Professor Emeritus, University College London

For more information, please visit:

Conference: “The Cartographic Imagination: Art, Literature, and Mapping in the United States, 1945–1980”

This two-day international conference  investigates spatial representations and practices in postwar US literature and art, and their intersection with mapping. Organizers will investigate the ways in which American space is constructed, imagined, reconfigured, displaced, and questioned in writing and in artistic form. The conference will examine the specificity of the literary and artistic appropriation of cartographic tropes, as well as the possible points of convergence and divergence of literature and art in relation to mapping and the material culture of mapping.

For more information and to register, please visit:

Exhibition: Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings

Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings will examine Cole’s work within a global context. The exhibition will showcase the artist’s most iconic works, including The Oxbow (1836) and his five-part series The Course of Empire (1834–36) as a direct outcome of his transatlantic career, and examine Cole’s legacy in establishing a school of 19th-century landscape art in America.

This exhibition will also be on view at the National Gallery, London (June 13 – October 7, 2018).

For more information, please visit: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2018/thomas-cole

Exhibition: Ten Americans: After Paul Klee

Co-organized by Zentrum Paul Klee and the Phillips Collection, his exhibition is the first substantial show to illustrate the impact of Swiss artist Paul Klee′s work on mid-twentieth-century art in the United States. The exhibition will feature work by Klee in dialogue with William Baziotes, Gene Davis, Adolph Gottlieb, Norman Lewis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jackson Pollock, Theodoros Stamos, Mark Tobey, and Bradley Walker Tomlin.

This exhibition was also on view at the Zentrum Paul Klee (September 17, 2017–January 7, 2018).

For more information, please visit:

Exhibition: Bruce Davidson

Presenting the work of American photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), this exhibition features almost 200 photographs. Since the 1950s, Davidson has photographed vulnerable individuals trying to make their way in American society. He approaches major issues like the Civil Rights Movement, racism, violence, poverty, and immigration from a personal perspective. He was the first photographer to spend years with a street gang in Brooklyn, and he traveled to the south with Civil Rights activists to take part in the Selma March. Thanks to his long-standing relationship with his subjects, Davidson’s work gives a moving insight into what the “American Dream” means to them.

This exhibition was also on view at the Fundacion Mapfre, in Madrid, Spain (September 12, 2016–January 15, 2017)  the WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie in Vienna, Austria (June 15–August 13, 2017), and the Nederlands Fotomuseum (September 16, 2017–January 7, 2018).

For more information, please visit:

Collection Loan: Gallery Installation

Since April 2005, the Terra Foundation of American Art has loaned works for display to the Department of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). Works from the collection of the Terra Foundation and works from the Art Institute of Chicago are located together in a suite of galleries, together providing one of the nation’s most comprehensive presentations of American art.

This installation is ongoing, January 2018 to December 2018.

For more information, please visit http://www.artic.edu/collections/art-institute-chicago-and-terra-foundation-american-art.

Charles Courtney Curran, Lotus Lilies, 1888, oil on canvas, 18 x 32 in. (45.7 x 81.3 cm), Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.35
Exhibition: Chiura Obata: An American Modern

Chiura Obata (1885–1975) was one of the most significant Japanese American artists working on the West Coast in the last century. Born in Okayama, Japan, Obata emigrated to the United States in 1903 and embarked on a seven-decade career that saw the enactment of anti-immigration laws and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. This exhibition presents an unprecedented survey of Obata’s rich and varied body of work that includes over 150 paintings and personal effects, many of which have never been on public display.

This exhibition will also be on view at  the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah (May 25 – September 2 2018), the Okayama Prefectural Museum (January 18 – March 10, 2019), and the Crocker Art Museum (June 23 – September 29, 2019).

For more information, please visit: http://www.museum.ucsb.edu/news/feature/624

Seminar: “Will Bradley’s Art of Art Direction” by Jennifer Greenhill

Jennifer Greenhill, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Southern California, will presents a work-in-progress on graphic artist Will Bradley (1868-1962). Specifically, Greenhill will go beyond Bradley’s well-known contributions to magazine covers and advertisements in publications such as The Inland Printer and The Chap-Book. Greenhill will instead focus on the profound, but under-explored, impact Bradley made on American design in his role as art director for properties owned by William Randolph Hearst. Commissioning art, revamping layouts, and so on, Bradley shaped the look of the popular magazine at a key moment in its history when an influx of advertising revenue and advances in printing technologies made magazines an attractive artistic outlet. Overall, Greenhill aims to not only to piece together these understudied aspects of Bradley’s output but to also offer a fuller picture of Bradley’s significance to the history of design.

This interdisciplinary scholarly seminar is part of the on-going academic program Chicago: City of Design and Commerce, 1890–1990, which will run from fall 2017 through fall 2018. This series offers a forum for scholars to gather, share works-in-progress, and discuss new scholarship that explores Chicago’s contributions to design history. The series is presented by the Newberry Library’s Center for American History and Culture as part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit: https://www.newberry.org/04262018-jennifer-greenhill-university-southern-california