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Behold, America!’ Showcases The History Of American Art

Details of three individual paintings on view in

Credit: Courtesy of MCASD/SDMA/Timken Museum of Art

Above: Details of three individual paintings on view in "Behold, America!" From left to right: John Currin, "The Hobo" (1999); Robert Henri, "Bernadita" (1922); and John Singleton Copley, "Mrs. Thomas Gage" (1771).

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American art has had to fight its way to international prominence, after years of being thought of as provincial and not quite as good as European art. In a similar way, San Diego's great art museums have had to struggle to find their rightful place in the nation's art world.

A new, unprecedented exhibition at three San Diego museums not only celebrates American art over the last three centuries, but also the remarkable artworks in the permanent collections of our local museums.

"Behold, America! Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums" — which opened September 16 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) in La Jolla, and on November 10 at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) and the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park — is the first time these three museums have collaborated together.

The exhibition, which features approximately 175 works from the colonial period to modern day, is organized into three sections — figures (SDMA), forms (the Timken) and frontiers (MCASD) — with each museum showing works from all three collections. It's not every day that visitors can experience more contemporary, minimalist works from MCASD's collection inside the Timken, or view one of SDMA's 19th-century landscape paintings at MCASD.

“Behold, America! Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums” runs now through February 10, 2013, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla and at the San Diego Museum of Art and the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

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