AMERICAN ART DECO concludes the 20th anniversary of the Frist Art Museum


The Frist Art Museum presents American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939, an exhibition that offers an in-depth examination of an international style that manifested itself in the United States in the decorative arts, fine arts, l architecture and design in the 1920s and 1930s.

Co-organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, American Art Deco will close the Frist’s 20th anniversary year and will be on display in the Ingram Gallery from 8 October 2021., until January 2, 2022.

Appropriately presented in the art deco interior of the Frist on the occasion of the museum’s 20th anniversary, the exhibit examines not only the glamor and optimism of the 1920s, but also the impact of the Great Depression in the years 1930. Approximately 140 works of art, including paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, Aaron Douglas and Grant Wood; a 1930 Ford Model A; and a wide range of decorative items – furniture, glassware, vases and jewelry – as well as an audio tour with music and imaginary conversations will immerse guests in the dynamic interwar period.

As evidenced by iconic structures like the Chrysler Building in New York, the Delano Hotel in Miami, and the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, architecture was one of the most common idioms in which the art deco style was used in United States. The Frist Building, formerly the Nashville Postal Headquarters, was constructed in 1933-34 by local firm Marr & Holman and funded by the US Treasury Department’s Construction Office. The lobby contains examples of colorful Art Deco-style marble and other geometric stone shapes on the floor and walls, as well as cast aluminum doors and grilles depicting symbols of local industry. “We hope our building will provide the perfect context for this exhibition which reflects this complex era of American zeal and loss,” said Frist Art Museum senior curator Katie Delmez.

The years between the two world wars saw great social, political and cultural changes in the United States. “Hundreds of thousands of African American families have left the South for economic opportunities and hopes of racial equity in cities across the North, Midwest and West; women gained the right to vote thanks to the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920; and artists adopted modern, streamlined styles. developed in Europe using new production technologies and new materials, ”says Delmez. “The range of works in this exhibition allows the public to consider both the optimism and glamor of this moment in our country’s history and the devastation and discrimination that also prevailed.”


Friday October 8
Curator’s Perspective: American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939 Presented by Catherine Futter, Senior Curator, Decorative Arts, Brooklyn Museum
6.30 p.m.
Auditorium of the Frist Art Museum
Free; first come, first seated.
Space is limited.

Join exhibition curator Catherine Futter to learn more about the exhibition and its era through decorative arts, fine arts, architecture and design. During this one-hour, illustrated lecture, Futter will explore the exhibition’s key themes, such as industrial and technological progress in the post-World War I period, as well as the relative social progress for women and people of color ; the rise of the middle class and consumer culture; and the migration of styles, ideas and designers from Europe to the United States.

Sunday November 21
Ellingtown presented by Wishing Chair Productions
2:00 p.m.
Free; Space is limited.

Join Jazz Grandmaster Duke Ellington as he takes us on a musical journey with his puppet friends in this special presentation from Wishing Chair Productions.

Sunday 12 December
Jazz AM: Ella Fitzgerald presented by Nashville Jazz Workshop
2:00 p.m.
Free; space is limited. The Nashville Jazz Workshop presents Jazz AM, a fun and interactive concert for families. The story of the great jazzman Ella Fitzgerald will come to life through live music, performances and songs.


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