Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

America votes — in art

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This is George Caleb Bingham’s The County Election (1852), probably the greatest American artwork about voting or Election Day. It’s in the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum, which has one of those web-gizmos that allows you to zoom in on every wonderful detail in Bingham’s painting. If the most patriotic thing you can do today is vote, digging this Bingham is a close No. 2.

Other significant American art about voting includes:

  • Bingham’s Canvassing the Vote (1852) in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art;
  • Thomas Waterman Wood’s His First Vote (1868) at the Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville; and
  • The impossibly great civil rights photography from the 1960s, about which I briefly wrote on Election Day, 2008.
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Comments

  1. Gets me every time, including right now as I type:

    Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 59: In the North they had the freedom to vote.

    http://www.phillipscollection.org/collection/browse-the-collection/index.aspx?id=1181

  2. How about Jane Hammond’s Hand Held, inspired by the poetry of John Ashbery http://collection.corcoran.org/collection/work/hand-held. It’s the map we should all be scrutinizing tonight.

  3. Personal favorite: “I Voted, 2011″ by Wilmer Wilson IV http://bit.ly/YCUe6L

  4. Great feature here. I add Magnum photographer Leonard Freed’s first vote in Washington DC series from his book ‘Black in White America.’ The photos from this day were his first in the capital following his March on Washington images from the year earlier.

    http://www.magnumphotos.com/Catalogue/Leonard-Freed/1963/USA-Washington-DC-Voting-for-the-First-Time-NN17897.html

    (year listed should be 1964, not 1963)

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