Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration
In conjunction with the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s statehood, Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration explores the remarkable artwork produced and collected over 1,000 years in the region surrounding St. Louis. The exhibition presents more than 150 objects from Missouri as far north as Hannibal, west to Hermann, and south through the Old Mines area. It also encompasses the Illinois region along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, from Cairo north through Carbondale and Alton. Although the region that has shaped the exhibition’s objects is small, it has played an outsize role in the history of North America due to the confluence of powerful rivers and major trails and routes within its borders.
Art Along the Rivers includes a surprising range of objects that vary widely in medium, function, and the prominence of their makers. For example, it brings together Mississippian sculpture, Osage textiles, architectural drawings for iconic landmarks, musical instruments, German and Creole furniture, African American decorative arts, prize-winning paintings from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and contemporary artists’ responses to these historic objects. While at first these works might appear to have few connections, the exhibition arranges them by theme rather than by culture or chronology to establish dialogues around the region’s geography, raw materials, and pressing social issues.