The changing face of communications seems never far from my mind, even on vacation.
While touring the Milwaukee Art Museum today – a stunning piece of architecture whose roof opens twice a day into “wings” facing Lake Michigan – I came across a room containing the work of eight American newspaper illustrators who aspired to become serious artists 100 years ago.
They rebelled against the landscape and genre painting styles of 19th century America by depicting – to quote the wall description – “the reality of American life in a tempestuous, turbulent modern time.”
Their work grew in popularity, but the National Academy of Design snubbed the leader of the group, Robert Henri (1865-1929), by excluding him from its prestigious 1907 exhibition in New York City. In response, Henri and his colleagues organized an alternate exhibition, and a journalist reviewing that exhibition called them “The Eight.” The name stuck, and the works of these eight are today in art galleries nationwide.
The connection to the changing face of communications? When I read that The Eight sought to depict the reality of American life in a modern time and that Henri advocated “making pictures of life,” I realized we use the same language today in teaching students to communicate the reality of our lives in the present “modern time.”