Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861 – 2008

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.

Admission to this exhibition is free for members or with a valid 2015 San Diego County Fair ticket stub (valid for one free adult admission). Read more


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.
The San Diego Museum of Art Celebrates 100 Years of Art in Balboa Park has been made possible by the generous support of Presenting Sponsor Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner.
Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008 was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. Lead sponsorship has been generously provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc. Support for this exhibition at The San Diego Museum of Art is provided by Seltzer, Caplan, McMahon, Vitek: San Diego Law Firm, the Members of The San Diego Museum of Art and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.