|STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — This summer, the Norman Rockwell Museum celebrates 50 years as the nation’s leading center for illustration art with a suite of three special exhibitions that explore Rockwell’s art, life, and legacy, and the year 1969. There will also be an installation of photographs, new media, and artifacts that together evoke Stockbridge’s Old Corner House, where the Museum was first established. Together, these will shed new light on the Museum’s journey from Rockwell’s desire to put his art collection in public trust, to its present-day distinction as a major resource for the study and appreciation of American Illustration.
The featured anniversary events will run from Jun 8-Oct. 27. Special exhibitions include:
• Woodstock to the Moon: 1969 Illustrated
From man’s first steps on the moon to a gathering of 400,000 concertgoers on a farm in Upstate New York, 1969 — the year of the Museum’s founding — witnessed momentous cultural transition. Culled from the Museum’s collection and private and public collections around the country, this exhibition illuminates how Rockwell and other illustrators portrayed their times and reflected popular culture during the final year of a tumultuous decade. Seminal works in the exhibition include Rockwell’s iconic depictions of the first moonwalk and of key events in the civil rights movement, presidential portraits, images of the war on poverty and the war in Vietnam, and his first rock album cover. Works by contemporaneous illustrators and designers will include the famous Woodstock concert poster by Arnold Skolnick, and examples of the inventive psychedelic art created that year for album covers, magazines, and posters.
• Norman Rockwell: Private Moments for the Masses
This exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes look at the autobiographical elements in Rockwell’s work, examining his carefully constructed fictional scenes for the covers and pages of American publications. With such beloved works as Art Critic (1955), The Runaway (1958), Triple Self Portrait (1960), and other iconic pictures, as well as rarely seen early works, candid photographs, personal effects and correspondence, and date-book diary entries, the exhibition reflects upon Rockwell’s observations and state of mind — sometimes at odds with his scenes of familial bliss and small-town charm. Private Moments for The Masses coincides with the special re-release of Rockwell’s 1960 autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator: The Definitive Edition, published by Abbeville Press.
• Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson
In February 1959, Norman Rockwell appeared on Edward R. Murrow’s celebrity-interview television show, Person to Person, and described how much he and his family loved living in Stockbridge, never mentioning that the reason they moved from Southern Vermont to the charming New England town was because it was the location of the Austen Riggs Center, the renowned psychiatric institute where Rockwell’s wife, Mary, received medical care and where, several years earlier, at a challenging time in his own life, Rockwell, himself had entered into therapy with Erik Erikson, a developmental psychoanalyst who went on to great recognition ― he is perhaps best known for coining the term “identity crisis” — and came to psychology from the world of art. This exhibition will explore the relationship of these two giants in their fields, who inspired each other’s creativity in unique and important ways. Work on view will include images of Erikson’s own art, Rockwell artworks that were directly influenced by Erikson, and a collection of Rockwell portraits of Erikson and other clinical staff from Austen Riggs.
For up-to-date details on Norman Rockwell Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, visit the Museum’s website at www.nrm.org