Recognized as the first American modern art movement, the Ashcan School and The Eight—Robert Henri, Arthur Bowen Davies, William Glackens, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan—captured everyday life at the beginning of the 20th century, a moment of increasing industrialization and great cultural change. Rejecting what traditional art institutions considered appropriate, these artists embraced a loose painterly style to portray factories and immigrants, congested urban streets and bawdy entertainments. Some praised the artists as “creating a national art” while others dismissed them as painters of rubbish or “ashcans.” This lecture examines these artists and the social issues they depicted, drawing parallels to those still relevant today.
Chyna Bounds received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her Master's in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Oregon. She is Assistant Curator within both the American Art and the 20th- & 21st- Century Design departments of the Milwaukee Art Museum.