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American Folk Art Museum
45 West 53rd Street
New York, New York 10019
Voice: 212-265-1040

“American Anthem” is a chronological (albeit loose) exploration of American folk art from the colonial period through the present, as seen through highlights from the museum’s collection. This organization represents a calculated risk on the part of the museum, as we recognize that it draws attention to early collecting trends—even biases—in the field of American folk art. This is reflected especially in the museum’s collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century material, comprising primarily artworks and objects from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states that demonstrate a strong Anglo-heritage. The contributions of the many diverse groups whose presence had an impact on early America—such as the Dutch in New York, Hispanic populations in the Southwest, and enslaved and free African Americans throughout the country—are only now beginning to be addressed through the museum’s collection. As American folk art is, by its very nature, inclusive of the full range of American experience, the subtext of “American Anthem” is necessarily one of acknowledged omissions that mirror, to an extent, the slights of American history itself.

The collection was launched in 1962 with the gift, appropriately enough, of a gate in the form of an American flag that celebrated the nation’s centennial. In the forty years since, the museum’s collection has continued to grow and evolve and now includes artworks from the seventeenth century through the present.



Pictures and information were provided by American Folk Art Museum

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