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Ad Reinhardt

Museum Landscape

1950

Artist

Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

Title

Museum Landscape

Date

1950

Medium

Collage, pen and ink, brush and ink, acrylic, and graphite pencil on board

Dimensions

Sheet (Irregular): 10 1/16 × 23 1/16 in. (25.6 × 58.6 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of the artist

Accession number

66.141

Object Label

One of three centerfolds created for Transformation: Art, Communication, Environment, an annual journal which brought together articles from the fields of art, science, and technology, Museum Landscape is Ad Reinhardt’s cartoon-collage satire of the Whitney's Annual Exhibition of 1950. In this work the three trees, “Ashcan Abstraction,” “Regional Abstraction,” and “Free Enterprise Abstraction” support branches representing schools of style, which in turn support identifying exhibitors, balloons naming sponsors, and flags citing influences. The cartoon is teeming with art-world inside jokes and spoofs. Taking a headline from one of the show's reviews, “Abstraction Crowned at Whitney Annual,” Reinhardt questioned the “abstraction” of artists such as Charles Burchfield, Ben Shahn, and John Sloan. Though the Annual included abstraction, Reinhardt saw a bias towards traditional, representational works in the show. The text along the bottom of his drawing offers a scathing critique of this approach: “Have you ever seen a cross-section show that has made any sense? Everything is treated as if it were the same thing. Is it all the same thing?” Disregarding his former feelings, Reinhardt donated Museum Landscape to the Whitney in December 1966, “for no special reason except the season to be jolly.”