The pandemic and ongoing climate crisis remind us that human civilization is more precarious than we care to admit. However, the fragility of existence has long been a subject of fascination for artists and is implicit in all depictions of nature.
We’re impressed by Ansel Adams’ photographs because we know his subjects will outlive its admirers. Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton show us landscapes altered by people, but only temporarily. The title of Kiki Smith’s etching Healers doesn’t refer to humans but bees. Whether we’re comforted or discomfited by the resilience of nature is for each viewer to decide.
Featuring works on paper from AAM’s collection by these artists, as well as Leonardo Drew, Robert Rauschenberg, Patricia Tobacco Forrester, and James Turrell, among others, this exhibition highlights the glorious trees, mountains and rolling hills that pre-date us and will outlast us.