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Modern Icon: The Machine as Subject in American Art

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Downtown, New York

1921
6 3/4 x 8 3/4 in. (17.1 x 22.2 cm)

John Marin
American (Rutherford, NJ, 1870 - 1953, Cape Split, ME)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Etching
Credit Line: The Charles Rand Penney Collection of the Memorial Art Gallery
Accession Number: 1975.245
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Location: Not currently on view
Collection: The Charles Rand Penney Collection

Edition: 1/30


In John Marin’s Downtown, New York, the viewer experiences the dizzying, disorienting sensation of looking up at the buildings while walking on a city street. Marin’s urban vision was one of energy, force, and fragmentation. He sought to capture the frenetic pace of the modern urban experience and the power of skyscrapers as though they themselves were active players in the city’s vitality, as “warring, pushing, pulling forces.” The slashing diagonal form is the elevated railroad that dominated the New York City landscape starting in the 1870s.

[label text for Modern Icon: The Machine As Subject in American Art exhibition, February 3 – March 6, 2012]

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