Our collection is more than a sampling of traditional American artists – the pieces housed within our Museum walls convey the story of the American experience. A diverse and unique display, the artwork prompts us to think critically and challenge our conceptions of the great American West and the people who live there.
Our collections and rotating exhibits serve great purpose in the community. These works of art are functional teaching pieces – they present some of our best opportunities to connect with our audiences, young and old.
Here’s what’s been on view at The Rockwell in recent years (most recent listed first).
July 1, 2020 – September 27, 2020
For over two decades, African American artist Kara Walker has been making work that weaves together imagery from the antebellum South, the brutality of slavery, and racist stereotypes. Best known for her use of the cut-paper silhouette, she transforms the genteel eighteenth-century portrait medium into stark, haunting tableaux. Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) is a series of fifteen prints based on the two-volume anthology published in 1866.
February 14 – August 5, 2020
Support for this exhibition was provided by James B. Flaws and Marcia D. Weber. Objects featured in this exhibition are on loan from the Dolores Elliott Collection of Binghamton, New York.
For centuries Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women embellished clothing and personal objects with intricate designs inspired by the natural world and their world view. They used materials such as porcupine quills, moose hair, bone and shell beads. As early as 1492, European travelers introduced glass beads to the Americas where they quickly became popular trade items. These exotic beads spread through the trade routes of North America, and by the early 19th century traditional Haudenosaunee ornamentation had been enriched by glass beadwork.
January 31 – April 26, 2020
Organized by the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens
To kick off our year of Advancing Women, this exhibition includes 46 prints—woodcuts, lithographs, drypoints, etchings, screenprints and more—ranging from the 19th through the 21st centuries, each by a different European or American woman artist. “Prints by Women” uses works from the Georgia Museum of Art’s permanent collection to provide a visual chronicle of art by women.
October 4, 2019 – February 2, 2020
Paintings were the primary mode of portraiture in the 19th century, as photography was still not yet widely available, and provided a vehicle through which to “show off.” This selection of paintings on loan from the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, NY, features portraits of women and children. In the patriarchal society of 19th century America, women and children’s portraits reinforced the success of their male head of household.
September 20, 2019 – January 5, 2020
The Arnot Art Museum and The Rockwell Museum present a collaborative exhibition exploring the power of portraiture and the human form. At The Rockwell, explore American Highlights from Tia Collection – see artworks by many important and influential American artists including Alice Neel, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, William Eggleston, Robert Henri, Jozef Bakos, Andy Warhol, Ruth Orkin, Cara Romero, Roy Lichtenstein and more. The Arnot Art Museum will feature international works, including highlights from Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Ai WeiWei and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
January 25 – December 31, 2019
These contemporary works are curated from the permanent collection to help reinforce themes represented in the Native American Galleries. First Nations are not relegated to the past, but rather the past anchors and informs a thriving contemporary present.
May 24 – September 22, 2019
This summer at The Rockwell, experience the art and influence of pop artist Andy Warhol. See the large scale Marilyn Monroe Suite, a silkscreened can of Black Bean Soup, both on loan from the Swope Art Museum. Plus, explore more Warhol artworks on loan from local private collections. Become part of the Art Factory yourself with take-home projects and activities within the exhibition.
This exhibition is made possible by Laura Coleman and Tom Halgash, and Melissa Gambol.
May 17 – September 8, 2019
Nancy Lamb (American, born 1956) is a sculptor and painter who blends aspects of whimsy, wit and sophistication to create snapshots of interpersonal intrigue. Her characters and scenarios, nameless and cryptic, depict our friends, our neighbors, our families and ourselves from the perspective of a voyeuristic, all-seeing eye.
This exhibition was made possible by James B. Flaws and Marcia D. Weber.
May 25 – September 8, 2019
This summer at the KIDS ROCKWELL Art Lab, step inside the framework of famous paintings and experience art like never before. Children and adults can enjoy a robust noontime meal in Grant Wood’s Dinner for Threshers, climb into a tent and explore camping gear in John Singer Sargent’s Camp at Lake O’Hara and add “corn husks” to the flower tower in Diego Rivera’s Corn Festival.
This exhibition was made possible by local sponsors John G. Ullman & Associates Foundation, Inc., Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc., and Peter and Kathleen Schweizer, with thanks to our local media sponsor, Mountain Home Magazine.
February 8 – May 5, 2019
During a career that spanned six decades, photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908–2002) created iconic portraits of many of the twentieth century’s most influential men and women—individuals who distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics, and the arts.
January 18 – May 19, 2019
In the spirit of such recognized art movements as Impressionism and Modernism, The Rockwell Museum introduces Favoritism. The newly-defined movement consists of staff favorites from the permanent collection, including oil paintings, etchings, photography and more, giving the opportunity to showcase unsung treasures from the diverse collection.
May 18 – September 4, 2018
Geology meets chemistry in this exhibition of abstract ceramic landscapes by artist and educator Wayne Higby. The exhibition explores the forms, techniques, and firing processes used throughout Higby’s career, including groundbreaking work in raku earthenware and porcelain.
April 27 – May 12, 2018
Giant tube looms, poetry readings, interactive modern dance collaborations, acoustic jam sessions and more – there’s something new and surprising each day at Bare Bones Café!
January 19 – April 22, 2018
The Rockwell is pleased to collaborate with American Women Artists for the 25 in 25 campaign, producing twenty-five museum shows over 25 years in honor of women in the visual arts. This competition showcases representational works by female artists in a variety of media including painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.
September 15, 2017 – December 31, 2017
See the works of more than fifty African-American artists from the late 1800s to the early years of this century. Drawn from one of the most esteemed private collections of works by African-American artists, this special exhibition features over ninety works by such luminaries as Elizabeth Catlett, William H. Johnson, and Charles White.
April 28, 2017 – February 2018
In this exhibition, we present important prints from the early 20th century and discuss the process by which they were made. The printmaking process is highly technical and therefore confusing to many of us. The exhibit features a broad body of work that illustrates the various printmaking techniques that were popular during the Modernist period.
May 5, 2017 – September 5, 2017
This summer at The Rockwell, explore the histories and memories tied to humble household objects – blankets – with Seneca native artist and proto-feminist Marie Watt. How can a simple blanket ignite conversations? What memories are held in the folds? How can fabric tie an individual to the community at large, or to a place and time?
February 3, 2017 – April 23, 2017
Comprised of 33 modernist works of landscape, portraiture, nudes, modern life stills and wildlife, this exhibition celebrates the work of the most honored American art masters of our time. Work by American greats like Grant Wood, Alexander Calder, and Thomas Hart Benton was presented for the first time at The Rockwell. Other artists, familiar to The Rockwell’s collection like Fritz Scholder, John Marin and Andy Warhol, were also included – providing a new dialogue with The Rockwell’s own modernist watercolors, works on paper, and sculpture.
September 24, 2016 – January 15, 2017
In celebration of The Rockwell Museum’s 40th anniversary, guest artists Steven Ladd and William Ladd were asked to curate an exhibition that reflects their American experience. The brothers mined The Rockwell Museum’s collection in order to create 40 visual stories. Each object has been installed in a unique grouping designed to alter its original meaning, encouraging us to view them in a new light. In 40 for 40, the artistic creation is the new context rather than the objects themselves.
June 24 – September 11, 2016
This exhibition offers a rare opportunity for public audiences to view major paintings from one of the largest privately-held art collections in the United States. Howard Terpning has achieved a rare status among contemporary painters of the American West and is recognized by collectors, aficionados of Western art, and his fellow artists as a true master. His paintings reflect a knowledge and appreciation of the history, culture, and religion of the Northern Plains Indians. Terpning depicts elements of our collective American history but harnesses a contemporary style that brings them to life for a modern audience.
February 23 – December 31, 2016
In conjunction with the NPS centennial, we would like to recognize the local diversity of the American landscape preserved in the Finger Lakes Region. Exhibited here are historic images of Watkins Glen State Park, from its origins as a private retreat through its modern incarnation as a public state park. Like national parks, state parks champion conservation of natural resources on a local level.
February 19 – December 31, 2016
Art has been part of the history of national parks since the 1870s when Hudson River School painters captured majestic Western landscapes. Through their awe-inspiring works, the public came to see these special places in America for the first time. The works captured their imaginations, spurring them to preserve these lands for future generations.
February 12 – June 19, 2016
These glass, kiln-formed panels by contemporary artist Richard Parrish are the most recent creations in his “Mapping” series. Informed by aerial photography, the panels provide a birds-eye view of the landscape. Fields, rivers, and crop irrigation patterns are presented in an altered spatial context, while being preserved as recognizable components of the composition.
April 8, 2014 – April 1, 2016
The display features historic works by Maria Martinez and other famous matriarchs of pottery as well as works by some of the most talented Indian artists working in the southwest today. These are vessels born of Native earth, crafted in fire, and displayed for both their historic importance as well as their artistic beauty. Interactive touch screens allow visitors to learn more about the history, craftsmanship, and artistry of these vessels.
August 14, 2015 – February 7, 2016
This exhibition follows the length of the river’s epic 1,450 mile journey from its headwaters high in the Colorado Rockies to its dried-up delta touching the Sea of Cortez, illuminating the historical, geographical, and environmental significance of this life- giving river. In order to bring awareness to these issues in a unique way, Pete McBride shot many of the images from the air. As McBride explains, “The aerial perspective shows where we as humans have been, how we connect to the earth, and how nature relates to itself.”
April 10 – August 2, 2015
Recognizing the sesquicentennial of “Mr. Lincoln’s War”, this traveling exhibition presents a selection of historical facsimile photographs of Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner. The exhibition emphasizes rare items in the George Eastman House collection and explores how photography was used during this period to record the war, promote popular causes, and commemorate those who sacrificed their lives. Between the States was curated by Jamie Allen, Eastman House’s assistant curator of photographs.
January 23, 2015 – March 29, 2015
“Touching on Water” is a collection of over 60 of his paintings in oil and in gouache dating from 1992 through 2014, each composition brought to focus by some form of water, the almost-too-common-to-be-noticed element, be it a lake, rain, river, or snow. The omnipresence of water in a water-blessed land, coupled with our absolute dependence on it, often renders it invisible to conscious attention. Paquette’s paintings make it reappear to our eyes and minds, reminding us to pay attention to this most common but extraordinary element in our daily lives.
September 26, 2014 – January 11, 2015
The West has been a defining national symbol during much of America’s history. Although considered a region by Euro-Americans, the West was also a myth, a dream, an inspiration and a destination. As the title indicates, the major theme of the exhibition is “spirit of community.” Drawn from the collection of Ken Ratner, the art integrates a multitude of traditions: landscape, portraiture and character study, animal pictures, domestic and urban scenes and Native Americans.
March 3, 2014 – March 8, 2015
Between 1833 and 1834, Maximilian, a German nobleman and self-trained naturalist, financed an expedition up the Missouri River, through a huge swath of the American West. Karl Bodmer, a young Swiss artist, accompanied Maximilian, creating some of the earliest images of the landscape, people, flora, and fauna of the trans-Mississippi West. The trip resulted in a massive, two volume publication, Travels into the Interior of North America, which featured more than 50 hand-colored engravings based on Bodmer’s original watercolors. This exhibition, drawn entirely from the Rockwell collection, will feature many of the most important engravings from these books.
September 19, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Known as the “Cowboy Artist,” Russell nevertheless painted, drew, and sculpted various Western animals, among them the grizzly bear, the deer, and the buffalo, throughout his long and storied career. This exhibition will feature over 40 works of art featuring wildlife by Charles M. Russell and was organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art in collaboration with the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West, University of Oklahoma.
May 16, 2014 – September 7, 2014
A student of Howard Pyle and part of the fabled Brandywine School, W.H.D. Koerner created numerous memorable Western scenes for the Saturday Evening Post and other publications in the 1920s and 1930s. Drawn from the Koerner estate and the Rockwell collection, this exhibition features about 20 of Koerner’s original paintings and drawings, which were the basis for the Post illustrations.
May 16, 2014- September 7, 2014
The art of Inuvialuit artist Abraham Anghik Ruben (b. 1951) portrays journeys of exploration, migration, and displacement through voyages across time and place, and into the spiritual realm. In these recent sculptures, Ruben contrasts the ancient lives of two northern peoples-Norse adventurers and Inuit (Inuvialuit) whale hunters-guiding us to a new perspective on the complex history of the North American Arctic, a history shaped by movement, contact, and change.
January 24, 2014 – May 4, 2014
Photographs by Edward S. Curtis and Roland W. Reed: Selections from the Irene and Dr. Edward Grandt Gift
February 27, 2013 – February 6, 2014
Alexander Hogue: An American Visionary
September 27, 2013 – January 12, 2014
Comic Art Indigene, curated by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, NM
January 13 – May 29, 2012
Two Perspectives, Crossing Paths: Nancy Bush and James Fox
June 8 – October 14, 2012
Enduring Legend, Fragile Myth: Cowboy Paintings by Jason Cytacki
June 8 – October 14, 2012
Indian Art and Contemporary Identity
September 14, 2012 – January 5, 2013
National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West: Capturing 125 Years of Majesty, Spirit and Adventure
October 25, 2012 – September 15, 2013
Treasures under the Tree: Selected Toys from the Collection of the Rockwell Museum
November 25 – December 31, 2012
Clyde Aspevig Field Studies
September 2010 – February 2013
Andy Warhol: Cowboys and Indians
January 22 – October 23, 2011
Face to Face: Portraiture and the American West
January 21 – May 5, 2011
Wild West: Beauty of the Beast
June 25, 2011 – January 2, 2012
Pottery from The Nancy and Alan Cameros Collection of Southwest Pottery
June 2011 – March 2014
October 28, 2011 – January 2, 2012
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