Gertrude Abercrombie, "Strange Shadows (Shadows and Substance)"

Strange Shadows (Shadow and Substance), 1950, by Gertrude Abercrombie.

TOLEDO – The supernatural has long held both a popular and scientific fascination in American culture. America’s artists have also grappled with the existence of beings, places and ideas that push the boundaries of science and psychology. Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art, on view June 12-Sept. 5 at the Toledo Museum of Art, is the first museum exhibition to broadly examine this relationship between American artists and the supernatural.

Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art and featuring works from the early 19th century through the present, Supernatural America has a wide scope, including more than 150 objects. It features painting and sculpture, but also includes drawings, sketchbooks and journals, prints, photographs, furniture, clothing and textiles, video and other objects such as scientific instruments and mediumistic/occult paraphernalia, including Ouija boards and planchettes.

“Whether through early pseudoscientific studies seeking to understand parapsychology, government documentations of UFOs or individual reckonings with the spirits of those who have passed away, American culture is filled with tales of the supernatural and accounts of paranormal experiences,” said Lauren Applebaum, associate curator of American art at TMA. “This complex and multifaceted subject has beguiled American artists for centuries and remains compelling for TMA’s audiences today.”

Supernatural America is organized by themes exploring America as a haunted place, apparitions, channeling spirits through rituals, and the potential for plural universes. Featuring well-known artists together with many who have been overlooked, the exhibition is interdisciplinary, multicultural and multimedia. It includes generations of artists active in the United States from diverse faith traditions working with a wide range of topics and approaches. Living and contemporary American artists – like Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Howardena Pindell and Betye Saar – are featured, along with familiar names such as Jacob Lawrence, Alma Thomas, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Grant Wood and Andrew Wyeth. In addition, lesser-known and underrepresented artists whose work is newer to art historical consideration are included in the scope of the exhibition.

Admission is free for museum members and $12 for nonmembers. Discounts for military, college students, and seniors ($10); youth ages 5-17 ($7); and children 4 and younger (free) are available.

Admission to the museum is always free, but visitors are required to register at the Information Desks when they arrive.

The Museum is located at 2445 Monroe St. For more information, call 419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862, or visit toledomuseum.org.

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