Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives
by Kasini House
and Ric Kasini Kadour
In the early part of the 20th century, Americans wrestled with Modernism and Europe’s dominance over American art. American Scene Painting as expressed by Social Realism in urban areas and Regionalism in rural communities rose in popularity. The movement led by Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry sought to wean America off the influence of European art and conceptualize an approach to art that was uniquely American and expressed the nation’s values. With its relatively conservative style and embrace of traditional themes, Regionalism was intensely popular with the American people. But the movement fell out of favor with the art world, rather dramatically, in 1942 and the realism of Regionalism was put, artificially, into conflict with Modernism. The break up left a schism that remains today and forms the basis of nearly eighty years of antagonism between the art world and the American public.
Author Ric Kasini Kadour explains the history of the Regionalism movement below and why it is still relevant to art and artists today. Kadour considers this moment in history as a stepping off point for Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives. Using selections from the Southern Vermont Arts Center’s permanent collection as a point of departure, Kadour presents contemporary art from eleven artists in light of the themes raised by 20th century Regionalists and relates how contemporary art speaks to present day issues and concerns. The book is in two parts: The Land and The People.
Details: 40 pages | 10″x8″ | saddle-stitched | 2019 | ISBN 978-1-927587-29-4
Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives accompanied the Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC)'s exhibition, "Contemporary American Regionalism: Vermont Perspectives", created by Ric Kasini Kadour, Guest Curator. The exhibition was on view August 17 - October 20, 2019 in SVAC’s Wilson Museum, and featured work from 11 contemporary Vermont artists working in sculpture, fiber art, drawing and painting. This exhibition connected viewers to current contemporary American art and showcased the artist’s interaction with their chosen tools, mediums and environments.