The Mississippi River valley holds some of the nation's most interesting scenery and treasured history. Although the river has long been a channel for trade, the 1850's marked its transformation from a travel route to a vital conduit for transmitting art, decorative objects, and new styles from Louisiana to Minnesota.
Currents of Change celebrates the artistic history of the Mississippi River by bringing together art in all media: paintings, prints, drawings, furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles, and sculpture. Minneapolis Institute of Arts curators Jason Busch and Christopher Monkhouse and art historian Janet Whitmore have each contributed an essay. Whitmore explores the Mississippi Valley landscape, people, and architecture in paintings by artists including George Caleb Bingham and Henry Lewis. Busch uses furnishings and portraits by artists like Alexander Roux and Thomas Sully to trace patterns of patronage and decoration along the river. And Monkhouse examines the development of America's artistic identity though the Mississippi River imagery in Longfellow's popular narrative poems Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha.
Currents of Change was written in conjunction with an exhibition of fine and decorative artsassembled from public and private collections representing the Mississippi Valley during a time of unprecedented economic and technological change. This fully illustrated catalog contains 150 colored illustrations and 44 black-and-white photographs.