DC Artist Kelly Towles + Masterworks From the Phillips = American Art Redux

We shared pictures from our studio visit with DC artist Kelly Towles earlier this month; in this video, hear from the artist on testing boundaries and what he calls “a graceful vandalism” of  two iconic American artworks from Made in the USA.

The Phillips partnered with Towles to create two original t-shirt designs using reproductions of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Miss Lillian Woakes and Edward Hopper’s Approaching a City.  The limited edition t-shirts make their debut in the museum shop at the American Bounty Phillips after 5 on August 7; we’ll be giving away a signed shirt to one visitor that evening, stop by for a chance to win!

What is Amelia Thinking? Eakins Birthday Edition

In honor of American artist Thomas Eakins‘s birthday, here are some of our favorite recent submissions to the in-gallery comment station next to the artist’s Miss Amelia Van Buren, part of Made in the USA. We ask visitors to answer the question, “What is Amelia thinking?” and are receiving dozens of responses a week. Stop by the exhibition or tweet us your submission with #MyAmericanArt.

Amelia Van Buren talkback_07.25.14

Hopper’s Birthday: Thoughts on Approaching a City

(Left) Edward Hopper, Sunday, 1926, Oil on canvas 29 x 34 in.; 73.66 x 86.36 cm. Acquired 1926. Paintings, 0925, American. The Phillips Collection, Washington DC. (Right) Edward Hopper, Approaching a City, 1946, conte on paper, 15 1/16 c 22 1/8 in., Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Bequest of Josephene N. Hopper, 70.869.

(Left) Edward Hopper, Sunday, 1926, Oil on canvas 29 x 34 in.; 73.66 x 86.36 cm. Acquired 1926. Paintings, 0925, American. The Phillips Collection, Washington DC. (Right) Edward Hopper, Approaching a City, 1946, conte on paper, 15 1/16 c 22 1/8 in., Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Bequest of Josephene N. Hopper, 70.869.

To learn more about this painting on the anniversary of Edward Hopper’s birth, below is an oral history transcript from the Archives of American Art in which Hopper was asked about what gives this work its intense feeling. See the painting on view in the Made in the USA show through August 31.

JOHN MORSE: Mr. Hopper, I’d like to ask you about one particular picture that made a great impression on me when I first saw it at the Whitney exhibition, and still does, although now it’s in the Duncan Phillips Collection in Washington. That’s Approaching a City, and I’m quite sure, or how I could put it into words, the particular appeal of this picture—maybe it’s impossible—but I would like to hear what you have to say about it.

EDWARD HOPPER: Well, I’ve always been interested in approaching a big city in a train, and I can’t exactly describe the sensations, but they’re entirely human and perhaps have nothing to do with aesthetics. There is a certain fear and anxiety and a great visual interest in the things that one sees coming into a great city. I think that’s about all I can say about it.

JOHN MORSE: Well, in painting this picture were you aware of these wonderful solid geometric forms that took my eye at once?

EDWARD HOPPER: Well, I suppose I was. I tried for those things more or less unintentionally.

JOHN MORSE: Would you go so far as to say it’s almost a subconscious result, effect?

EDWARD HOPPER: Yes, I think so.

JOHN MORSE: But what was in your mind when you were painting it, I gather then, was this feeling of approaching a city?

EDWARD HOPPER: Yes.

JOHN MORSE: Thank you.

From: Oral history interview with Edward Hopper, 1959 June 17, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-edward-hopper-11844