This innovative exhibition explores how artists portrayed water as a site of labor in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art. Drawing from UWM’s rich collections, it shows how artists worked to promote a wide variety of maritime endeavors, from shipping and fishing to naval warfare, tourism, and scientific inquiry. American artists treated the country’s coastlines and waterways as visual treasures, economic assets, and national resources, but they also used these maritime scenes to represent their own artistic labor to the public. By crafting a visual culture of the water, artists showed the shared contributions that maritime industries and the arts could make to the nation. With nearly 100 objects in a wide variety of media, from paintings and sculptures to postcards and nautical charts, Water + Work provides a compelling account of how artists put the water to work to advocate for American art, promote the domestic economy, and shape the national heritage.
Opening Reception: September 12, 5-7 pm
5:30 pm Gallery Talk by Co-Curators Drs. Sarah Schaefer and Kay Wells