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At Work: The Art of Labor

February 19, 2017

At Work: The Art of Labor

The idea of the American dream – the opportunity for prosperity, success, and upward mobility for everyone regardless of the circumstances of their birth – centers around the concept of hard work.  In theory, those who are willing to put in long hours of labor will be rewarded with a richer and better life for themselves and their children.  Due to its importance in the American psyche, it is perhaps not surprising that a significant amount of American art focuses on depicting work in its various guises.

With art drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, these two galleries highlight depictions of work in both city and country.  The artworks show not just the work itself but also the places and tools involved in the “daily grind.”  From massive farms to factories to retail establishments, work is inescapably intertwined with the American experience.

This exhibition has been made possible by the Hotel-Motel Tax Fund, the Program Grant Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts, members of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and contributors to the Museum’s Annual Fund.


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