Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 is the first major museum exhibition to explore the lure of this legendary playground through the lens of art. Composed of more than 100 objects, both celebrated icons of American art and rarely seen works, this exhibition will include paintings, drawings, prints, posters and assorted artifacts. From its beginnings as a watering hole for the wealthy to its transformation into an entertainment mecca for the masses, Coney Island has been viewed as a microcosm of the American experience by an extraordinary array of artists, including John Henry Twachtman, William Merritt Chase, Reginald Marsh, Walker Evans and Red Grooms. In addition to the work of these artists, sound recordings and film clips will bring to life the excitement of Coney Island, which occupies not only a strip of sand in Brooklyn but also a singular place in the American imagination.
Image credits: ABOVE Arnold Mesches, Anomie 1991: Winded Victory. Acrylic on canvas, 1991. Museum purchase with partial funding from the Richard Florsheim Art Fund, 1993.1. Courtesy of the artist. | RIGHT Reginald Marsh, Wooden Horses, 1936, tempera on board, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, The Dorothy Clark Archibald and Thomas L. Archibald Fund, The Krieble Family Fund for American Art, The American Paintings Purchase Fund, and The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 2013.1.1. © 2013 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.