Connecting the World

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The Panama Canal at 100

The Mint Museum
November 1, 2014-February 1, 2015

“Fern Walk, Jamaica” by Frederic E. Church, c. July 7865, oil on paper mounted on canvas, 12 1/4 x 13 1/4 in., OL.1981.73, Collection Olana State Historic Site

Connecting the World: The Panama Canal at 100 opens in fall 2014, the centennial of the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, and brings together selected examples of the work of the three most important American artists to draw and paint the construction of the canal, printmaker Joseph Pennell and painters Alson Skinner Clark and Jonas Lie, for the first time. Providing a rich context for these works is a handful of paintings by nineteenth-century American artists including Frederic Church, Martin Johnson Heade, and Louis Remy Mignot, all of whom visited and painted in South America, as well as works by such American artists as Julien Alden Weir, Ernest Lawson, and George Bellows, who painted images of factories and industry in the popular styles of their day. Interspersed with the approximately 50 paintings and prints is a variety of ephemera—photographs, books, newspapers, and other period material—that address the broader public perception of the canal and its impact.

As 2014 marks the centennial of the opening of the canal it provides a perfect opportunity to both reconsider these historic works of art and to reflect upon the canal’s impact over the past one hundred years. Thus, in conjunction with the exhibition the Mint has commissioned a new short story by the award-winning author Anthony Doerr and a new work of art by renowned contemporary artist Mel Chin. These fresh perspectives on the canal and its legacy are particularly meaningful in light of the fact that an effort to significantly expand the canal is currently underway, and is tied to the development of many projects in the continental United States, such as the construction of an intermodal transportation hub at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

Panama Canal at 100 is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue containing an essay by exhibition curator Jonathan Stuhlman, the new work of fiction by Doerr, and images relating to Chin’s commission along with an interview with the artist about the piece.  For more information click here.

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