Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists

September 15, 2015 - January 31, 2016

This traveling exhibition and its accompanying publications provide the first comprehensive overview of Associated American Artists (1934-2000), the commercial enterprise best known as the publisher of prints — sold via mail-order catalogue — by Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood.

The exhibition addresses not only AAA’s storied involvement in the popularization of American prints in the 1930s, but also its ongoing promotion of American art over six decades. Through aggressive marketing of studio prints, ceramics, and textiles, and associations with corporate advertisers, AAA sought to bring “original” American art over the threshold of every American home. “From Studio to Doorstep — Wherever You Are,” the company promised in a 1945 mail-order brochure. “No longer would the would-be possessor of a beautiful picture have to go to town and visit an art dealer; or still harder, hire somebody to do it for him. Quite the contrary! Every American post office [is] to be like a branch agency for the creations of the pick of American artists.”

A major catalog distributed by Yale University Press containing essays by scholars in the fields of American painting, printmaking, textiles, ceramics, and interior design accompanies the exhibition. A free, illustrated index of AAA prints, textiles, color reproductions, and ceramics will be made accessible online as a searchable PDF in the spring of 2016. The exhibition catalog, Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists, 1934-2000, can be purchased from the Beach Museum of Art. Call 785-232-7718 or email beachart@ksu.edu for details.

Organized by the Beach Museum of Art, the exhibition of 136 objects from over 25 museums and private collections will travel to the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, April 19-July 9, 2016; and the Syracuse University Art Galleries, New York, January 12 – March 26, 2017.

The exhibition’s co-curators are Liz Seaton of the Beach Museum of Art and Jane Myers, former curator at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. Scholar Gail Windisch, Los Angeles, is a third important contributor to the exhibition. Her original research served as the base for the project.

Major funding for the exhibition has been provided by The Henry Luce Foundation, Edward and Karen Seaton through the R.M. Seaton Endowment for Exhibitions, and The Ross and Marianna Kistler Beach Endowment for the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. Additional support has come from the International Fine Print Dealers Association, Russell Clay Harvey and Patricia McGivern, and Candyce Russell.

Click here for details about the exhibition catalogue and an Illustrated Index of Associated American Artists Prints, Ceramics, and Textile Designs

Related Events

Art for Every Home Exhibition Opening
Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m.

Art for Every Home – Recalling Earlier Eras
Sept. 25, 6-9 p.m.
Friends of the Beach Museum of Art 1950s themed fundraising event including dinner at the Bluemont Hotel followed by dessert and special performances at the Beach Museum of Art. $125 per person, reservations required. Call 785-532-7718 to inquire about remaining seats.

Art for Every Home Speaker Series

Art by Mail: Associated American Artists
Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m.
Elizabeth Seaton, curator, Beach Museum of Art

Thomas Hart Benton: The Perils of War
Oct. 29, 5:30 p.m.
Joan Stack, curator, State Historical Society of Missouri

The American Home of the 1950s
Nov. 5, 5:30 p.m.
Kristina Wilson, professor of art history, Clark University

Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood
Nov. 19, 5:30 p.m.
Erika Doss, professor of American studies, University of Notre Dame