Art of, by, and for America

The NYTimes today has an article about a new art project involving tractor trailers and a bunch of activist visual artists and writers and performers. Read about The Great American Art Trip as reported by Randy Kennedy, and get the NYT if you want more of this kind of arts coverage. This project is tied to a larger, very interesting effort that I had not heard about, “America: Now and Here.” The arts community in Lowell and the Merrimack Valley should look into how we can link up with this initiative. Check out the website.

After years of rumors about a Great American Art Trip in the works, the painter Eric Fischl has announced a privately financed program in which a truck-based roving museum and performance space will tour the country for two years to address what he sees as an identity crisis in American culture.

The idea, he said in an interview, grew out of a strong conviction in the years after 9/11 that the country, as it grew more politically polarized, was losing a sense of its place and direction in the world, more so than at any time since the 1960s.

“This came just from talking to friends, peers, acquaintances, students, local grocers, whoever I talked to,” he said. “America doesn’t usually turn to its artists for help with something like that, but I actually think it’s something that artists do very well. And I thought, ‘If America won’t turn to its artists, then I know a lot of pretty famous artists and I’ll ask them to go out and do it themselves.’ ”