By Brooklyn Reader

January 4, 2016, 3:37 pm


"The Hug: Closed Eyes and Smile" Harvey Stein, 1982

“The Hug: Closed Eyes and Smile” Harvey Stein, 1982
Courtesy: The Brooklyn Museum

For 150 years, Coney Island has lured artists as a microcosm and icon of American culture. Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 is the first major exhibition to explore the kaleidoscopic visual record they created, documenting the historic destination’s beginnings as a watering hole for the wealthy, its transformation into a popular beach resort and amusement mecca, its decades of urban decline culminating in the closing of Astroland, and its recent revival as a vibrant and growing community.

"Anomie 1991: Winged Victory," Arnold Mesches, 1991

“Anomie 1991: Winged Victory,” Arnold Mesches, 1991
Courtesy: The Brooklyn Museum

This exhibition charts shifts in artistic styles and national moods through approximately 140 objects. Included are paintings of the Coney Island shore in the 1870s by William Merritt Chase and John Henry Twachtman; modernist depictions of the amusement park by Joseph Stella and Milton Avery; Depression-era scenes by Reginald Marsh; photographs by Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Weegee, and Bruce Davidson; Coney Island carousel animals and sideshow ephemera; and contemporary works by Daze and Swoon.

WHAT: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland

WHEN: November 20, 2015  – March 13, 2016 

WHERE: The Brooklyn Museum,

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