Collaborative Exhibition of American Art to Open in San Diego

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Three of San Diego's premier art museums will open Behold, America! November 10. A first of its kind, the exhibition will bring together American works of art from each institutions' permanent collections, spanning from colonial period to present.

Three major San Diego Museums to host "Behold, America!" featuring works of American art from their permanent collections.

This fall, three San Diego art museums - the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art - will bring together the finest American works from their permanent collections to present a groundbreaking collaborative exhibition entitled Behold, America!: Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums. Internationally known for their permanent collections and scholarly exhibitions, these institutions together provide a three-museum venue for Behold, America!, which will be on view from November 10, 2012 through February 10, 2013.

This civic collaboration, which presents work from the colonial period to the present, offers an unprecedented opportunity to view the full sweep of American art history as told through the visual art of three institutions, and to reconsider how national and individual identities have shifted over time. While lending selected works among institutions is not uncommon, Behold, America! is unique in the scope of the exchange and the intermingling of these distinctive collections. It is also the first time the three institutions have worked together on one project.

Behold, America! is grouped into three main sections, Figures, Forms, and Frontiers, with each venue showing works from all three collections. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will exhibit Frontiers, the section of the exhibition that emphasizes landscape painting by artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Georgia O’Keeffe and includes important installations by artists like Vito Acconci, Ann Hamilton, and Robert Irwin. This portion of Behold, America! will open September 16, giving visitors an opportunity to get a preview of the exhibition.

At The San Diego Museum of Art, early American portraiture by Thomas Sully will be seen in concert with contemporary works by Cindy Sherman and John Currin in the Figures component of the collaboration.

The Timken Museum of Art will present Forms, which will include examples of traditional still-lifes by Raphaelle Peale, early American modernism by Morgan Russell and Manierre Dawson, and a minimalist work by Agnes Martin. The Timken is the only art museum in Balboa Park to offer free admission during its regular hours. The San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will also both show components of Forms.

Additional artists represented in the exhibition, who are among the most important artists in the history of the art of the United States, include: John Singleton Copley, Eastman Johnson, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, and Lorna Simpson.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the museums will present a wide spectrum of programs, lectures, tours, and opportunities to enhance the experience with the exhibition both during their visit and at home. A full-color comprehensive catalogue will be published in conjunction with the collaboration, and will include essays by an international array of experts, including Alexander Nemerov, Michael Hatt and Frances Pohl.

Members of the three museums will be invited to special previews and will have the opportunity to view the exhibition in full at the partnering institutions.

Qualcomm Foundation will serve as the lead patron of Behold, America!

Venues and Display Dates: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (on display from September 16, 2012 through February 10, 2013); The San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art (both on display from November 10, 2012 through February 10, 2013)
Events in conjuntion with the collaboration: Symposium on November 10, 2012 at The San Diego Museum of Art; Panel Discussion with the three executive directors from each institution on January 17, 2013 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Opening Celebration: Exclusive Members’ Opening Celebration to be held on November 9, 2012 at all three institutions.

Behold, America!: Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Timken Museum of Art. Support for the exhibition is made possible by Qualcomm Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Jake and Todd Figi, and U.S. Bank.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Dr. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the James Irvine Foundation.

For more information, visit; Facebook:; Twitter: @mcasd.


The San Diego Museum of Art is located at 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, Calif., 92101. General Information, (619) 232-7931, Group Sales: (619) 696-1935, Website:, Twitter: @SDMA, Facebook:

The San Diego Museum of Art provides a rich and diverse cultural experience for 350,000 visitors annually. Located in the heart of beautiful Balboa Park, the Museum’s nationally renowned collections include Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings, and 19th and 20th century American paintings and sculptures. The Museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as an extensive year-round schedule supporting cultural and educational programs for children and adults. At The San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.


The Timken Museum of Art, located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, is the permanent home of the Putnam Foundation’s world-class collection of European and American art and Russian icons. Masterworks in the collection span 700 years of history and range from 14th century altarpieces through 18th century portraits and landscapes to 19th century still lifes. The works of Italian, Dutch, Flemish, French and American painters are represented, including those of Veronese, Guercino, Petrus Christus, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jacques-Louis David and John Singleton Copley. The collection also includes the only Rembrandt painting on public display in the area.

Known as one of the finest small museums in the world, the Timken Museum of Art is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays. For more information visit; Facebook at Timken Museum of Art or Twitter at @TimkenArtMuseum or call (619) 239-5548.

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Lizzie Younkin
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