Mary Louise Schumacher’s excellent Art City blog at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tackles American modernism and a group of artists known as The Eight:
The Eight are given their due in art history for their early modernist tendencies and their advocacy of modern art in the early part of the 20th century, but little scholarship about their careers after the Armory Show exists. A recently opened exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum attempts to complete the story.
It also attempts to set the record straight, to imply that these American artists created works as modern, as radical, as their European counterparts.
This seems a stretch. These artists had something else in common: what they were not. Still, the originality of The Eight was eclipsed by the wonderful outlandishness of works such as Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase,” perhaps somewhat unfairly. A new consideration of their work is more than called for.
The show is really eight individual surveys, showcasing how each artist applied modernist ideas and techniques to the traditions of figurative art – with varying degrees of success.
The Eight at MAM (Art City)