The American Dream: pop to the present

The American Dream: pop to the present

9 March - 18 June 2017
Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery
£16.50, Members/under 16s free
#AmericanDream

America. Land of the free. Home of the brave.

Trace the creative momentum of a superpower in this major new exhibition.


The past six decades have been among the most dynamic and turbulent in US history, from JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11 and Vietnam to the AIDS crisis, racism and gender politics. Responding to the changing times, American artists produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition.

Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition includes works by the most celebrated American artists. From Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu – all boldly experimented with printmaking. Experience this extraordinary history through their eyes.

Taking inspiration from the world around them – billboard advertising, global politics, Hollywood and household objects – American artists created highly original prints to rival their paintings and sculptures. Printmaking brought their work to a much wider and more diverse audience.

The sheer inventiveness and technical ingenuity of their prints reflects America’s power and influence during this period. Many of these works also address the deep divisions in society that continue to resonate with us today – there are as many American dreams as there are Americans.

This exhibition presents the Museum’s outstanding collection of modern and contemporary American prints for the first time. These will be shown with important works from museums and private collections around the world.

Sponsored by Morgan Stanley

Supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art 


Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave

Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave

25 May - 13 August 2017
Closed 3 - 6 July
Room 35
£12.00, Members/under 16s free

Experience the beautiful and sublime work of one of Japan’s greatest artists.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) is widely regarded as Japan’s most famous and influential artist. He produced works of astonishing quality right up until his death at the age of 90. This new exhibition will lead you on an artistic journey through the last 30 years of Hokusai’s life – a time when he produced some of his most famous masterpieces.

Throughout the exhibition, outstanding examples of Hokusai’s work will show the artist’s creative breadth and depth. A selection of superb landscapes is introduced with the iconic Great Wave – itself part of a print series of views of Mt Fuji. Intimate domestic scenes capture fleeting moments in private lives. Exquisite depictions of flora and fauna display an innate skill in representing the natural world. The artist’s imagination is given full rein in the portrayal of supernatural creatures such as ghosts and deities. Through all of these works, explore Hokusai’s personal beliefs and gain a fascinating insight into the artist’s spiritual and artistic quest in his later years.

The exhibition will include prints, paintings and illustrated books, many of which are on loan from Japan, Europe and the USA. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these extraordinary works together.

Please note for conservation reasons there will be a rotation of about half the artworks halfway through the exhibition run. Some works can only be displayed for a limited period of time due to their light sensitivity. The new works will substitute similar ones and will not affect the exhibition’s story. To facilitate the rotation, the exhibition will be closed between 3 and 6 July.