Exhibition Highlighting America’s Most Iconic Amusement Park Opens May 11, 2016 Through September 11, 2016.
The spirit of Coney Island will come alive in South Texas when the McNay Art Museum presents Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008, opening May 11, 2016 through September 11, 2016.
For more than half a century, the McNay has enchanted visitors with its art, architecture, and ambiance. Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, her Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’s first museum of modern art when the McNay opened in 1954. The museum offers rich and varied exhibitions as well as rotating displays in the Main Collection Galleries from the 20,000 works in the collection, while 45,000 adults, teachers, students, and families take advantage of a variety of education programs and innovative educational resources.
The exhibition explores and celebrates Coney Island, the most iconic, uniquely American Amusement Park in the United States, which has served as national cultural symbol inspiring artists, musicians, novelists, poets, and filmmakers. From Coney Island’s beginning as a watering hole for the wealthy, through its transformation into an entertainment mecca for the masses, to the closing of Astroland Amusement Park following decades of urban decline, this first-of-its-kind exhibition uses visual art as a lens to explore 150 years of Coney Island.
Coney Island was organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. The McNay is the exhibition’s only Southwest venue. It will feature more than 140 objects, comprised of both celebrated icons of American art and rarely shown works from both public and private collections, including paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, circus posters, sideshow banners, architectural artifacts and carousel animals. Visitors to the exhibition will be immersed in the culture of Coney Island through memorabilia, sound recordings and film clips, including documentaries and popular films.
The modern American mass-culture industry was born at Coney Island, and the constant novelty of the resort made it a seductively liberating subject for artists. From early depictions of “the people’s beach” by Impressionists William Merritt Chase and John Henry Twachtman to modern and contemporary images by photographers Diane Arbus and Walker Evans, Red Grooms, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Reginald Marsh, Joseph Stella, Swoon and George Tooker, Coney Island investigates America’s playground as a place and an idea. Continue reading