Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Norman Rockwell Exhibit

This past weekend our family had a chance to go to an exhibit at the King of Prussia Mall called Rockwell's America: Celebrating the Art of Norman Rockwell. I had no idea malls had art exhibits. While the it did not have any of his original paintings the post covers were printed from, they did have over 300 original Saturday Evening Post covers. The truly wonderful part of the exhibit was how it was designed so that the whole family could have an enjoyable, educational time. Well, maybe the wonderful part was that kids 12 and under are FREE! (Adults were $5.)

After watching a short film about Rockwell, the curtain opens to Rockwell's paintings in 3 dimensional. My daughter said, "You felt like you were right in the painting!" Unlike most art exhibits, the kids can touch everything. They got to sit in a Model T Ford, attend an old fashioned schoolhouse and work along side Rosie the Riveter. JP did get a little confused at the Christmas scene and wanted to open a present, but he was a good sport about it. It was sweet to see my husband explain the Four Freedoms to my daughter. It was as much about history as it was about art. There were also many photo opportunities, sure wish I had Catherine's photography skills. The lighting was not the best for my idiot proof camera.

Rockwell's paintings are a favorite of mine. People say it is a myth he is painting, but I think his paintings are very realistic. The paintings do not tell the whole American story, but they tell the sweet, good, innocent parts. They capture a snapshot, a moment in time created in a different era in our history. An era where there was more innocence and children were free to roam about town. However, it was also an era of prejudice, where he was told by the Post not to include African Americans in his illustrations, so it is a very white depiction of America. Despite our flaws, I think America is a great country, and Norman Rockwell a great American artist.

I highly recommend this as a field trip, but hurry because the exhibit ends March 14, 2010. Also, I recommend eating at Ruby's Diner in the mall because it has a Americana 5os flare that goes perfect with Rockwell, and the kids are well entertained by the train running on a track attached to ceiling.

Here is a list of books I was able to get from my local library and also found useful for enhancing our visit:

Norman Rockwell Painting America, DVD of An American Masters series (for adults NOT the kids)

Norman Rockwell: Storyteller with a Brush by Beverly Gherman

*Rockwell: A Boy and His Dog by Loren Spiotta-DiMare - My kids loved this sweet historical fiction.

*Norman Rockwell by Mike Venezia - Getting To Know The World's Greatest Artist series

The Best of Norman Rockwell: A Celebration of 100 Years selected by Tom Rockwell (Great colored pictures of his work)

You're a Grand Old Flag by George M Cohan with pictures by Norman Rockwell

*Ones your kids will relate to the most.

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