We Hart Benton
Anyone who pissed off as many art snobs as Thomas Hart Benton did must have had something going for him, and the avowed enemy of modernism remained stubbornly accessible and representational right up to his death in 1975. As with corny old Norman Rockwell, his work is easy to dismiss until you see it, at which point its cartoon energy, thunderbolt color and sinewy hyperbolic Americana fuse into a kind of collective dream of our nations past. That includes the paintings on display in this Frist exhibition, assembled in tribute to the Regionalist masters inspirations of music and Mark Twain. The exhibit coincides with the citywide celebration of Twains work continuing into May 2010; see twainandtwang.org for more information.