Upcoming at TMA: ‘Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art’

Press Staff Writer

        The supernatural has long held both a popular and scientific fascination in American culture.
        America’s artists have also grappled with the existence of beings, places and ideas that push the boundaries of science and psychology.
        “Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art,” on view June 12 through Sept. 5 at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA), is the first museum exhibition to broadly examine this relationship between American artists and the supernatural.
        Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and featuring works from the early 19th century through the present, Supernatural America has a wide scope, including more than 150 objects. It features painting and sculpture, but also includes drawings, sketchbooks and journals, prints, photographs, furniture, clothing and textiles, video and other objects such as scientific instruments and mediumistic/occult paraphernalia, including Ouija boards and planchettes.
        “Whether through early pseudoscientific studies seeking to understand parapsychology, government documentations of UFOs or individual reckonings with the spirits of those who have passed away, American culture is filled with tales of the supernatural and accounts of paranormal experiences,” said Lauren Applebaum, associate curator of American art at TMA. “This complex and multifaceted subject has beguiled American artists for centuries and remains compelling for TMA’s audiences today.”
        Supernatural America is organized by themes exploring America as a haunted place, apparitions, channeling spirits through rituals, and the potential for plural universes. Featuring well-known artists together with many who have been overlooked, the exhibition is interdisciplinary, multicultural and multimedia. It includes generations of artists active in the United States from diverse faith traditions working with a wide range of topics and approaches. Living and contemporary American artists – like Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Howardena Pindell and Betye Saar – are featured, along with familiar names such as Jacob Lawrence, Alma Thomas, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Grant Wood and Andrew Wyeth. In addition, lesser-known and underrepresented artists whose work is newer to art historical consideration are included in the scope of the exhibition. 
        “Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art” has been made possible in part by the Terra Foundation for American Art, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition is sponsored locally by 2021 Exhibition Program Sponsors Taylor Cadillac and ProMedica, presenting sponsors Susan and Tom Palmer, and with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council.
        TMA is located at 2445 Monroe Street at Scottwood Avenue, just west of the downtown business district and one block off I-75, with exit designations posted. For hours, admission policies and general information, visitors can call 419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862, or visit toledomuseum.org.
        Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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