Art Everywhere paints American landscape with favorite masterpieces

BY Alexis Cox  August 15, 2014 at 4:23 PM EDT
Art Everywhere US Times Square rendering, featuring (top) Chuck Close's "Phil" (1969, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, © Chuck Close) and (bottom) Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" (1942, The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection).

Art Everywhere U.S. Times Square rendering, featuring (top) Chuck Close’s “Phil” (1969, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, © Chuck Close) and (bottom) Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” (1942, The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection)

An ambitious new initiative across the U.S. is sneaking works of American art into subways, onto billboards and the sides of buses, and into view for a greater audience, without charging admission.

The Art Everywhere U.S. project was organized by five American museums — the Art Institute of Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York — in collaboration with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. It was inspired by a similar public art program that launched in the United Kingdom in July.

Dubbed the “world’s largest outdoor art show,” it includes as many as 50,000 digital and static displays in all 50 states. The installations feature 58 different classic and contemporary works of American art spanning 230 years that were selected by the public in an online vote this past spring. They range from Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” (the top vote-winner) and Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can,” to Mary Cassatt’s “The Boating Party” and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”.

Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott director of the Dallas Museum of Art, hailed the project.

“A vast new audience is now starting to encounter masterpieces of American art, free of charge, as part of their everyday landscape,” Anderson said. “In many ways, American art tells the story of our country.”

Art Everywhere US installation, San Francisco, CA, featuring Charles Wilbert White's "Harvest Talk" (1953, The Art Institute of Chicago, © The Charles White Archives).

Art Everywhere U.S. installation, San Francisco, featuring Charles Wilbert White’s “Harvest Talk” (1953, The Art Institute of Chicago, © The Charles White Archives)

“It is a project that situates extraordinary images by great American artists in the unique cultural landscape that is the United States,” said Donna De Salvo, the chief curator and deputy director for programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art. “It’s always exciting to think about encountering art in the course of everyday life, whether inside or outside.”

Art Everywhere U.S. installation, Fort Myers, Florida, featuring Mary Cassatt's "The Boating Party" (1893 - 94, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Chester Dale Collection).

Art Everywhere U.S. installation, Fort Myers, Florida, featuring Mary Cassatt’s “The Boating Party” (1893 – 94, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Chester Dale Collection)

Rebecca Baldwin is the director of public affairs at the Art Institute of Chicago, home to a dozen of the pieces included in “Art Everywhere.” Baldwin says the project uniquely seeks to “put America’s artistic heritage out in the public sphere, mak(ing) it easier for people to view great art even when they don’t have a great museum close by.” She added, “we’ve just gotten very consistent enthusiasm for the idea of taking it outside of the museum.”

Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Winslow Homer's "The Water Fan" (1898-99, The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Dorothy A., John A. Jr., and Christopher Holabird in memory of William and Mary Holabird).

Art Everywhere U.S. Times Square installation, featuring Winslow Homer’s “The Water Fan” (1898-99, The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Dorothy A., John A. Jr., and Christopher Holabird in memory of William and Mary
Holabird)

The artwork is on display now through August 31. Visit the project’s interactive map to learn where to spot “Art Everywhere” masterpieces near you. The campaign is also encouraging people to post images of the displays in their communities using the hashtag #ArtEverywhereUS.

View more displays from the Art Everywhere initiative below:

Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Robert Mapplethorpe’s "Ken Moody and Robert Sherman" (1984, Jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by The David Geffen Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust, © 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation), photo by Robert Landau.

Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Robert Mapplethorpe’s “Ken Moody and Robert Sherman” (1984, Jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with funds provided by The David Geffen
Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust, © 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation), photo by Robert Landau.

Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Edward Hicks’ "The Peaceable Kingdom" (c. 1846 - 1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund), photo by Robert Landau.

Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Edward Hicks’ “The Peaceable Kingdom” (c. 1846 – 1847, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund), photo by Robert Landau.

https://twitter.com/SpringboardArts/status/494849274916532224/photo/1

Art Everywhere US Times Square installation, featuring Charles Burchfield’s "Noontide in Late May" (1917, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York), photo by Robert Landau.

Art Everywhere U.S. Times Square installation, featuring Charles Burchfield’s “Noontide in Late May” (1917, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York), photo by Robert Landau